The reinvention of New York State education has lately started from the introduction of the new technology learning model. According to the current reports, 16 school districts of the state launched a new educational program that replicates the Pathways in Technology Early College High School (P TECH) (The Business Council, 2013, para. 1). The policy reform can establish a strong connection between the world of progressive technological innovations and the modern job market. It predetermines the consistent instruction on technological subjects and sciences within the schooling spaces and connects educational establishments to the true-to-life American work environments. Therefore, the adoption of the P-TECH educational model in the USA could become a powerful start of an innovative learning era and create a new generation of high-skilled professionals.
The possible executive actions that are to be taken by the U.S. Department of Education include an encouragement of the American local governments to adopt the policy and to promote the reformative regulations. The motivation for the educational reformation can be derived from the fact that America lacks technical workers and the P-TECH model can become a significant promoter of the specialized work tendencies. To prove the fact, one can verify the general performances of technical workers against the achievements of humanitarian specialists. According to Dresang (2008), the use of performance evaluations can serve as the best indicator of the need to establish new policies (p. 165). Therefore, a wide range of practical studies that show the inefficiency of technical workers’ approves the assumption.
Background and Functioning of P-TECH Educational Model
The underlying principles of the P-TECH model functioning take its roots from the low quality of technical education in the USA. Thus, the American experts have always been concerned with a poor state of STEM studies in the educational establishments of the country. It is generally acknowledged that prior to the introduction of the innovative technology education model even the American graduates who possessed some technical skills could not be employed since they lacked exposure to a real technological workspace (IBM and P-TECH, 2013, para. 3).
P-TECH learning or a STEM-focused education has immense potential, for it can establish the new job opportunity structures throughout the USA. Due to Lynch, Behrend, Burton, and Means (2013), “technology connects students with information systems, models, databases, and STEM research; teachers; mentors; and, social networking resources for STEM ideas during and outside the school day” (p. 6). Consequently, a technology that reaches educational spaces creates new dimensions of proficiency cognition and supports the standards of informal learning methods.
The tendency of P-TECH model implementation started in 2011 from Brooklyn school and grew to 27 schools in 2014. It is expected that the number of establishments that follow the innovative curricula will increase to 100 by the end of 2015 (IBM and P-TECH, 2013). The model works on the principle of combining the best elements of technological education in high schools, colleges, and workspaces. According to the P-TECH regulations, students graduate with free associate degrees in such subjects as engineering, computer studies, and applied science within six years. In the aftermath, the graduates of such establishments have a chance to pursue their careers in the world on information technologies. The program is both motivating and encouraging, for it satisfies the needs of learners and presents some promising perspectives for them.
P-TECH Model Alternatives
The statewide New York P-TECH education still faces strong opposition to the traditional educational models. The program that awards the students with no-cost associate degrees demands huge financial support from both local and central governments. Since high technological proficiency requires much practice and resources, P-TECH education is considered to be one of the most expensive educational programs. Moreover, it is often argued that an expansion of the high school study period, which is an element of the P-TECH program, creates a damaging impact upon higher education since it discourages students to pursue further professional development after school graduation.
One of the modern alternatives to the P-TECH model is the so-called Tennessee Promise educational program that guarantees two additional years of free post-secondary education. This model provides the students with an opportunity to gain some valuable technological proficiency within the higher education study period (Philips, 2014).
The advocates of the Tennessee Promise model claim that the program has a mentoring format, which promotes a conscious approach to education. Therefore, the students who pursue the program are not forced, but rather encouraged to follow technological career paths. Each individual who is involved in the program is guided through the usage of personal consultancies. Consequently, it is a primary aim of Tennessee Promise to demonstrate the positive sides of information technologies as well as instruct the students on a beneficial appliance of technological devices. As a result, the students are expected to become successful specialists in the domain.
Comparative Analysis of P-TECH Model and Tennessee Promise Program
While assessing a public policy, it is crucial to estimate the costs of its implementation and further expansion. Due to the general analysis of cost allocations that were directed upon the development of two programs, P-TECH model implementation requires much more financial support that the Tennessee Promise. According to Bakeman (2014), the federal government of the USA allocated $107 million in support of P-TECH implementation at New York schools in 2014. Moreover, there were some additional voluntary allocations of $56 million that was provided by separate governors in the same year (para. 8).
Therefore, the major critique that is voiced against the P-TECH educational model is concerned with its expensiveness. In contrast to this program, Tennessee Promise implementation does not require any substantial cost allocations, since the program is based upon some internal financial transformations that are conducted within the educational establishments and do not require any external aids. Thus, due to Carey (2014), the Tennessee Promise introduction was launched together with some reduces of scholarship awards. According to the regulations of this model, university/college freshmen and sophomores started receiving a $1750 scholarship instead of a $2000 payment in 2014 (para. 11). Consequently, the reform was sustained with the help of internal financial distributions.
Despite its low-price implementation, the Tennessee Promise educational model possesses some crucial drawbacks. Thus, the general efficiency of the program is much lower than the P-TECH’s effectiveness. The major flaw of Tennessee Promise is its target politics. The program adopted a special attitude towards the students who are motivated to receive associate degrees in sciences. Thus, it positions itself as a safety for the high school graduates who do not score high academically and can not be eligible for scholarship nominations. The students of the Tennessee Promise get attracted to a chance to receive no-cost associate degrees, instead of following their professional interests. In the aftermath, Tennessee Promise educational program does not reduce the U.S. technology skills gap, but rather produces a number of low-quality professionals who are not motivated to pursue their career paths.
In contrast to this model, the P-TECH educational program always promotes a deep change, for it targets exclusively those learners who are interested in information technologies and related subjects. The idea behind P-TECH promotes a universal strategy that makes students attracted to the professions and, thus, guides them to their future employers. In his article on progressive education, Bloomberg (2013) emphasizes that “by connecting students directly to college – and directly to potential employers – our students will be better prepared to succeed (para. 8). Therefore, P-TECH’s profession-oriented conception makes it a leading program among the alternative educational models, since its expensiveness may be justified by its high-quality standards.
Despite P-TECH program is based upon the elaborated principles, it is currently hard to predict the consistent outcomes of the model implementation since the first groups of students who entered P-TECH study programs have not graduated yet. Therefore, it is not easy to estimate the final achievements of technology-oriented learners before they enter a real job market. Nevertheless, one may assess the general progress that is made by the New York P-TECH students. According to Bakeman (2014), 103 Brooklyn students who began their P-TECH study in 2011 scored 80 points and higher on a math Regents test that was held in 2015 (para. 14). Moreover, there is a general tendency of New York students to outperform their American peers in technological subjects. Therefore, the trend may serve as a guarantee of the bright future of P-TECH education.
Conclusion: P-TECH Implementation Results and Recommendations
In 2013, a president of the USA, Barack Obama, gave a speech on the future development and extension of P-TECH education. According to his opinion, it is a unique opportunity for every American student to become a high-skilled professional, for the school-to-work transition is a guarantee of successful career development (Watkins, 2014, para. 7). Since that time, American citizens got attracted to the idea of technological instruction being a key to universal success. It is crucial to realize, though, that a P-TECH model education should not be regarded as an initial advantage of every student. It is rather a background that will place American graduates into the front lines of a job market. Moreover, the P-TECH graduates have to be aware of a limitation of their professional specialization. In other words, P-TECH associate degrees are not the credentials of career success. In general, it is demanded to continue pursuing higher education paths. The initial aim of the P-TECH educational program implementation is providing an entry ticket to technological resources and tools as well as exposing the sphere of sciences as an interesting and exciting domain.
Through the P-TECH educational model serves only as an initial stage of accessing information technology proficiency, it provides a consistent solution to the general problems of American education. Since the U.S. labor market is marked with a huge technological skills gap, the New York P-TECH model can be adopted by all the federal states, which can help the central government to bridge the gap. The innovation demands huge financial investments. Nevertheless, it is the only American educational program that can bring the country’s economy on a new level. The ultimate goal of the U.S. government, thus, is to make an effort to adopt the school-to-work policy like a universal approach to American education.
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