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Comment Re:A Warning (Score 2, Interesting) 1203

This is only partly correct. The correct part is the technical/vocational schools are not accredited by the same boards as traditional universities. The incorrect (and slanted) part of this is that technical schools are legally required to be accredited by other boards set up for them, and are legally prohibited from being accredited by the boards which accredit traditional universities. _None_ of them have no outside accreditation; it's a legal requirement that they be accredited. Most of what you wrote _was_ correct through the mid-1990's, when there were some spectacular problems in the technical school industry. As a result of these problems, these schools came under tight scrutiny and regulation and the rules and outcomes are very different now.

You can make the case that they only want your money, but that's not entirely accurate either. Part of their accreditation process measures their graduation rates and placement rates (placement meaning a student is working in a job in the field for which they were trained). If either of these fall out of norm (which is roughly mid-80% on both measures) the school loses accreditation. Losing accreditation means the school is out of business. So, in order to keep getting your money, there's a _very_ strong incentive to actually get people graduated and out there working.

It also means that technical schools tend to set up strong employer relationships so that their students can get placed. The ones I'm familiar with have an "advisory board" of 50-100 local companies (small business to Fortune 500) who come in regularly, do their own audits and inspections, suggest changes, etc. In return, these companies take graduates from these schools seriously.

You are correct that the standards are very different. Technical schools are interested in one thing only: taking a student and getting them graduated and placed in the field of their training. They're not interested in well-rounded students, they're not interested in teaching English, math, sciences, etc. beyond those required for the job. Their mission is to educate students who aren't well suited to traditional university programs. Most people who _are_ well suited to traditional university programs would feel slighted by a technical school, but that doesn't mean they're not highly valuable to the population who can't handle a university program (due to lack of prerequisite education, life pressures, access, or whatever else).

I have no stake at all in the technical school area -- I just know several people who work in it and have gone over all of this in detail. They're quite sensitive to it, because the common perception of what they do is completely wrong.

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