An Implementation Study of Career and Technical Education Reform in Chicago Public Schools
Elizabeth Weigensberg, Robert Halpern
The Chicago Public Schools (CPS) are in the first stages of what is intended to be a multi-year effort to re-shape career and technical education throughout the city. Chapin Hall is conducting a study describing and reflecting on the early implementation of this initiative. The study will highlight where and how the initiative is innovative and how it might serve as a model of career and technical education reform in other cities, and will place the initiative in the context of broader efforts in Illinois and developments in career and technical education in the region.
Working with the staff of CPS, researchers will examine school-level manifestations of reform at two or three schools. Areas of study include the nature and quality of curricula developed; the nature and quality of young people’s learning experiences; graduating seniors’ self-assessment of their Career and Technical Education academy experience; teachers’ and mentors’ sense of their role and responsibility; how young people are helped to find workplace experiences; and obstacles and challenges to development of the new academies within the school context. Researchers will identify implementation challenges and solutions, and compare the goals and understandings of different stakeholders in the reform of Career and Technical Education. They will also examine how vocational learning is distinct and why it may be a good fit for many young people.