Connected vocational and academic tracks in the U.S. school system –
a way to more equal opportunities in schools?
The U.S. school system defines the future of its students by placing them into certain tracks during high school. Mike Rose complains in his essay, "I just wanna be average", that the vocational track in the high school is a "dead end" (Rose 163). According to his experience Rose's way out of the vocational track was a "mixed blessing" (Rose 167). On one hand Rose was a student who did not belong in the vocational track because of his ability to be better. On the other hand, he already adjusted himself to the system of the vocational track and describes himself as an unsettled and undisciplined student who had problems to keep up with several subjects. His experience shows how difficult it is to escape from the track into which individuals are placed. The question Rose's experience raises is whether vocational and academic tracks should be connected. One possibility how it could work is practiced in Germany where a totally different school system leads students to different ways of life but always gives them equal opportunities to improve their knowledge and their learning, and, therefore, individuals always have a chance to achieve the highest possible education.
There are three types of schools people can attend after primary school in Germany. There is the Hauptschule, the Realschule and the Gymnasium. For all three school types it applies that it depends on the grades to which school students are going after elementary school. Since parents also know that, they try to support their children right from the beginning of school because they are aware that their children will have more problems if they start with the Hautschule and not with the Gymnasium. Rose's parents were immigrants and, therefore, could not help him to improve in school, and so did not discover the mistake which brought Rose to the vocational track. But "how would someone...