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Multiple Perspectives On Multiple Pathways Series

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Most high schools prepare students for college or work (or neither). Some students choose freely between these options, but for most students real choice plays little role. Instead, counseling (or the lack of it), available courses, English proficiency, zip code, and a host of other factors “decide”—often at a very early age—the kind of preparation students receive and the life chances that follow. Beyond Tracking: Multiple Pathways to College, Career and Civic Participation, introduces Multiple Pathways, an approach to high school reform that rejects the century-old divide between college preparatory academics and vocational education and the practice of tracking students into one or the other.

In this book distinguished scholars from economics, sociology, urban planning, business, and education suggest that we can create a third “choice” by designing school programs that combine the first two—academics and careers. Multiple Pathways is not a watered-down curriculum designed for academically-weak students to “get by” in college; it’s not about “basic-skills” for the workplace. Rather, the authors envision combining the best and most fundamental elements of technical, real-world, job-related experiences with the rigorous and useful abstractions of the standard academic education.

These fourteen insightful essays explore the struggle to conceptualize and advance Multiple Pathways—a radical departure from the sorting and stratification of twentieth century high schools. The essays synthesize research on the intersections among a changing economy, population diversity, widening social and economic inequality, and patterns of school failure across racial and ethnic communities. The essays illuminate the promise and the challenges associated with Multiple Pathways reform including fundamental changes to core beliefs and practices.


Read the Author Bios here 

Overview of Multiple Pathways:

Multiple Pathways is an approach to high school education that has captured the imaginations of major philanthropy, school reformers, and a growing number of policymakers. Today’s high schools do not offer all students the programs and classes necessary to prepare them for college, career, and responsible participation in public life. The purpose of Multiple Pathways reform is to correct this failure.

Multiple Pathways would end the tired debate about whether high school students need more rigorous academics or a more relevant career-focused curriculum. Instead, Multiple Pathways offers students and their families choices among a variety of high school programs that provide both the academic and the career foundations students need for advanced learning, training, and responsible public participation. These choices are based on students’ interests and on the unique strengths and opportunities in their communities. Every pathway would prepare all students for both college and careers, and it would place civic responsibility at the core of its programs.

“Multiple Perspectives on Multiple Pathways” consist of a collection of fifteen essays written by distinguished California scholars. The papers in this collection provide multiple perspectives in their reviews, synthesis and interpretations of existing research on Multiple Pathways. They report research that examines the intersection between California’s changing economy, its population diversity, its widening social and economic inequality, and its patterns of school failure across racial and ethnic communities. They explore the link between current structures (structures that maintain a divide between Career and Technical Education and academic education) and inequity. They also provide analyses of alternatives that can provide multiple pathways to high school graduation and postsecondary options that include both college and career.


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The Multiple Perspectives on Multiple Pathways Series includes:


1. Restructuring and Reculturing Schools to Provide Students with Multiple Pathways to College and Career

Hugh Mehan

University of California, San Diego


2. Pipelines, Pathways, and Payoffs: Economic Challenges and Returns to Changing Demographics in California

Jon Stiles and Henry Brady

University of California, Berkeley

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