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Vocational Education Curriculum, History of

  • By: Lucy E. Bailey
  • In: Encyclopedia of Curriculum Studies
  • Edited by: Craig Kridel
  • Subject:Cultural Studies (general), Curriculum & Content (general), Curriculum Studies

The U.S. vocational education movement emerged in the late 19th century in response to profound economic changes and leaders' increasing conviction that schools must prepare workers for the nation's new economic structure. This belief that schools should be linked with workreflected a fundamental shift in citizens' vision of schooling in a democracy. Although educators' efforts to teach basic skills and champion the values of industry and productivity have always had “vocational” implications, reformers in the late 19th and early 20th centuries sought to integrate work training into schools. Institutionalizing worker preparation, like other educational reform efforts, reflects U.S. citizens' enduring belief that schools can and should address a variety of complex social issues, including workforce needs, poverty, unemployment, and class tensions. Vocational education (termed workforce ...

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