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A student learns welding at a vocational high school in Massachusetts. (Photo: Emily Hanford)

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Vocational education was once a staple of American schooling, preparing some kids for blue-collar futures while others were put on a path to college. Today the new mantra is "college for all." But not everyone wants to go to college, and more than half of jobs don't require a bachelor's degree. Many experts say it's time to bring back career and technical education. This American RadioWorks documentary explores how vocational education is being reimagined.

Recent Posts

  • 09.17.14

    A company short on skilled workers creates its own college-degree program

    At a Toyota plant in Kentucky, young people are learning how to fix robots, earning associate's degrees and graduating with jobs that pay up to $80,000 a year.
  • 09.11.14

    A 21st-century vocational high school

    For years, vocational education was seen as a lesser form of schooling, tracking some kids into programs that ended up limiting their future opportunities. Today, in the nation's best vocational programs, things are different.
  • 09.10.14

    Career academies: A new twist on vocational ed

    Across the country, thousands of high schools are transforming into career academies. The idea is that students will be more engaged if they see how academics are connected to the world of work. And they’ll be more likely to get the postsecondary schooling they need to support themselves in today’s economy.
  • 09.09.14

    The troubled history of vocational education

    Vocational education was once used to track low-income students off to work while wealthier kids went to college. But advocates for today's career and technical education say things have changed, and graduates of vocational programs may have the advantage over graduates of traditional high schools.


in collaboration with Spotlight on Poverty and Opportunity

Fund health care for everyone via a uniform tax

File under: health care, insurance, medical problems, funding, taxes

0 (0 votes)

From: Bea A., Tonasket, WA

Along with the latest depressing figures on poverty in the United States, this week we learned that 50.7 million Americans now lack health insurance. While poverty has many root causes, there's an obvious link between these two phenomena: the level of poverty and the lack of health insurance.

Many Americans can relate sad stories of medical expenses driving them into poverty. Colossal amounts of money are spent on health care in this country, while everyone agrees that the system has evolved into a confused, mind-boggling mess. Insurance (every type of insurance) is a system of shared risk, in which everyone puts money into a pool -- those who are likely to have a claim, as well as those who are less likely. Claims are then paid out of the pool.

The Obama Administration has tried hard to find a creative solution to the problem of the uninsured, but unfortunately, the latest health care bill is probably not going to be very successful. There's already a concerted opposition to the requirement to buy insurance. There were political reasons, of course, why it worked out this way; but it's easy to foresee the problems the mandate will run into.

It would go a long way towards mitigating poverty in this country if everyone was able to obtain necessary health care. And the only way to accomplish this is to create a pool of premiums. Instead of the requirement to buy insurance, the only practical solution would be, to fund health care via a uniform tax, similar to the Medicare tax.


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American RadioWorks |
A student learns welding at a vocational high school in Massachusetts. (Photo: Emily Hanford)

Ready to Work

Vocational education was once a staple of American schooling, preparing some kids for blue-collar futures while others were put on a path to college. Today the new mantra is "college for all." But not everyone wants to go to college, and more than half of jobs don't require a bachelor's degree. Many experts say it's time to bring back career and technical education. This American RadioWorks documentary explores how vocational education is being reimagined.

Recent Posts

  • 09.17.14

    A company short on skilled workers creates its own college-degree program

    At a Toyota plant in Kentucky, young people are learning how to fix robots, earning associate's degrees and graduating with jobs that pay up to $80,000 a year.
  • 09.11.14

    A 21st-century vocational high school

    For years, vocational education was seen as a lesser form of schooling, tracking some kids into programs that ended up limiting their future opportunities. Today, in the nation's best vocational programs, things are different.
  • 09.10.14

    Career academies: A new twist on vocational ed

    Across the country, thousands of high schools are transforming into career academies. The idea is that students will be more engaged if they see how academics are connected to the world of work. And they’ll be more likely to get the postsecondary schooling they need to support themselves in today’s economy.
  • 09.09.14

    The troubled history of vocational education

    Vocational education was once used to track low-income students off to work while wealthier kids went to college. But advocates for today's career and technical education say things have changed, and graduates of vocational programs may have the advantage over graduates of traditional high schools.