Schools must change what they are teaching and how they teach it if educators want students to be prepared for jobs in the real world.
That message was delivered to Ventura County school trustees and administrators this week by Gerald Hayward, deputy director of the National Center for Research on Vocational Education at UC Berkeley.
Hayward, who spoke at a meeting of the Ventura County School Boards Assn. in Camarillo, says business and industry face a critical shortage of skilled workers to fill increasingly sophisticated jobs.
Research indicates that schools should combine vocational training with core academic classes to prepare all students for jobs, whether or not they will attend four-year colleges.
Needed is a kindergarten-through-community college program, where students learn by doing and combine relevant work experience with academics, Hayward said.
This can be accomplished by school and community college faculties working with industry to develop a comprehensive program and avoid duplication of courses and equipment.
County schools have already started the process, according to Charles Weis, county assistant superintendent of curriculum and instruction.
A Tech-Prep Articulation Task Force has been formed to develop standards and courses as an alternative to traditional college prep programs, he said.
Thomas Lakin, chancellor of the Ventura County Community College District, called for shared teaching among high school and college faculties.
He challenged policy makers to think countywide, rather than as individual school district representatives.