SOME LONG ISLAND SCHOOLS STUDENTS JUST WANT TO GO TO WORK

Written by Patricia Hawke for www.schoolsk-12.com

All parents have big dreams for their children. Fame, fortune, happiness, security, love, confidence, success, and a good education- to name a few. Parents of Long Island Schools students have dreams like these, too. A lot of these kids are told as they grow up that college is what you do after high school, end of discussion. Of course, most if not all parents would like to see their kids head off to college.
 
But let’s look at the big picture; not all graduating seniors want to head off to a 2- or 4-year college. They are anxious to enter the workforce, earn a paycheck, and are heartily sick of homework. Students attending Long Island Schools represent both goals – both college bound and work bound – but only one of these groups is truly getting the education they need to achieve their goals after high school.
 
Long Island Schools students are feeling increasing pressure to attend college or a university. Rigorous courses are becoming the norm, and the stress that goes along with the homework and studying for these classes is immense. Long Island Schools students who are planning on heading off to college pretty much have to take these types of classes in order to even get accepted in the school of their choice. In fact, 88% of Long Island Schools graduates enroll in colleges or universities. 
 
But what about the Long Island Schools vocational students? Their schools are experiencing such a drastic amount of cutbacks that they are forced into turning students away from the education they desire. Many Long Island Schools districts have to tell their vocational students that they can’t afford to enroll them in BOCES (Board of Cooperative Educational Services) job-training courses in the Fall of 2007. This is happening despite New York’s state regulations which entitle teens access to vocational programs. In fact, state regulations require school districts, including those serving Long Island Schools to provide students with up to two years of BOCES occupational training, free of charge. Therefore, many of these Long Island Schools students are blocked from receiving the training they need to begin their chosen profession.
 
Long Island Schools officials have voiced regret over the situation, but added that they have little choice. Budgets have had to be trimmed, and the cuts included $720,000 in BOCES tuition. The most likely reason for these cutbacks is the fact that Long Island voters have rejected spending plans twice.
 
It appears that if the voters who live in the areas which support Long Island Schools do not change their minds, hundreds of vocational students attending one of the many Long Island Schools will lose out on the education they so deserve. Perhaps, when they see their fast food restaurants and discount stores flooded with young high school graduates, they’ll change their minds. I hope so.

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