Is the Apprenticeship Model Making a Comeback?
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  • A step in the right direction. Now if we can just move this community college model down into the high and junior high schools. One way to remove the “stigma” would be to require all students, including those on an academic track, to take a certain number of vocational courses. Everybody ought to know how to cook and use a screw driver.

  • wigwag

    A definite step in the right direction. Smart people in many fields are reexamining old, discarded practices that might usefully be dusted off and reintroduced to the modern world. Apprenticeship is a tried and true practice that could revolutionize education; just because it is ancient, doesn’t mean it’s not relevant to the 21st century. It may even represent an improvement over what we have now. Sometimes this new trend to reintroduce apprenticeship is referred to by a word that is newly coined; “mentorology.” The bottom line is that it is a great idea.

    I can provide one more example of a discarded practice being revived and proving to be revolutionary; its field; it is from a field that I am familiar with, medicine. Prior to the 1950s, the only treatment for children with epilepsy was a very low carbohydrate diet called the ketogenic diet (it’s like Atkins on steroids). The diet was highly effective in controllong seizures but with the development of antiseizure medications this method of treatment was virtually forgotten.
    The problem is that there is a subset of pediatric patients who don’t respond to antiepileptic medications; their seizures are intractable. Some of these kids have scores or even hundreds of seizures every day. A group of neurologists recently scanned the literature to try to figure out how they might intervene and they came across old papers describing how to implement the ketogenic diet in pediatric patients. They tried it, and to their astonishment it worked. Virtually every epileptic patient who couldn’t be controlled with antiseizure drugs responded very effectively to this old-fashioned treatment. More than 95 percent of the epileptic kids on the diet because seizure free. The ketogenic diet is now standard therapy at almost every center for kids with intractable epilepsy.
    So, what’s the point? What I am getting at is what I think Via Meadia is getting at in this post. Just because an idea isn’t modern doesn’t mean it isn’t right. Sometimes old ideas are actually better than new ideas. A return to the apprenticeship model is a great thing.

    • I went through a union carpenter apprenticeship program in the Bay Area. It was a great program and could be implemented in public high schools very easily. I’m sure the same would hold true for all the other building trades.

  • lhfry

    This is great, but we need apprenticeship programs in shortage occupations that pay well, to prepare plumbers, electricians, glaziers, welders, auto mechanics and others. These jobs are not easily outsourced and it is difficult for illegals to capture them since serious skills are required to perform them unlike other carpentry trades.

  • Fat_Man

    “The Apprentice:How manufacturers and community colleges are teaming up, German-style, to create high-paying factory jobs.”By Dana Goldstein, September 21, 2012

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