The false dichotomy between academic learning and occupational skills

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Author: Bailey, Thomas R.; Belfield, Clive R.


What distinctions are there between vocational (career and technical) education and academic learning in college? In this essay, we compare broad academic and vocational program goals, embodied skills, tasks, and jobs, with a focus primarily on community college students. There is considerable overlap between the two types of education, so a separation of tracks presents a false dichotomy. In addition, vocational certificates, which often have little academic content, have attracted attention lately as a path to good jobs. New evidence indicates that degrees offer more substantial...  [+] Show more

Subjects: Tertiary education; Qualifications; Skills and knowledge; Teaching and learning

Keywords: Community college; Curriculum; General education; Technical education and training; Skill analysis; Educational innovation; Relevance of education and training

Geographic subjects: United States; North America

Published: Cambridge, Massachusetts: MIT Press for American Academy of Arts and Sciences, 2019

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Journal title: Daedalus

Journal volume: 148

Journal number: 4

Journal date: Fall 2019

Pages: pp. 164-178

ISSN: 0011-5266, 1548-6192 (online)

Resource type: Article

Call number: TD/TNC 138.139

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