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每日跟讀#484 : To Innovate, the Workplace Comes to Class

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每日跟讀#484 : To Innovate, the Workplace Comes to Class

In a sleek laboratory at Marshall University last month, four high school teachers hunched over a miniature steam-electric boiler, a tabletop replica of the gigantic machinery found in power plants.

They hooked the boiler to a small, whirring generator and tinkered with valves and knobs, looking for the most efficient way to turn coal, natural gas, nuclear or solar energy into electricity.

上個月在美國西維吉尼亞州馬歇爾大學一間造型優美的實驗室裡,四名高中老師朝向一台微型蒸氣電熱鍋爐弓下身。這是發電廠裡巨大鍋爐的桌上型複製品。

他們把鍋爐連接上一台嗡嗡作響的小發電機,調整閥門和旋鈕,尋找把煤、天然氣、核能或太陽能轉為電力最有效的方式。

The teachers, who were attending a summer training program, are helping West Virginia in another kind of transformation. Long one of the poorest states, it is now leading the way in turning vocational education from a Plan B for underachieving students into what policymakers hope will be a fuel source for the state’s economic revival.

這些參加暑期訓練專案的老師正在幫助西維吉尼亞州進行另一種轉型。向來是美國最貧窮的州之一的西維吉尼亞現在打起頭陣,要把職業教育從成績不佳學生的次要選擇,轉變成決策者希望的、這個州經濟復甦的一股原動力。

Simulated workplaces, overseen by teachers newly trained in important state industries like health, coal and even fracking — the energy industry's technique to extract oil and gas from rock by injecting high-pressure water, other mixtures, and chemicals, are now operating in schools across the state. Students punch a time clock, are assigned professional roles like foreman or safety supervisor, and are even offered several vacation days of their choice in addition to regular school breaks. (Many take time off during deer hunting season.)

現在,西維吉尼亞全州各地都有學校開辦模擬工作場所,指導老師都在這個州重要的產業如醫療、煤礦甚至水力壓裂受過最新訓練。水力壓裂是能源業的技術,透過注入高壓水、其他混合物和化學物,從岩石開採石油和天然氣。學生上下班打卡,被指派擔任領班或安全監督員等專業角色,甚至在學校例行假期之外可以自選幾天休假。(許多人在獵鹿季休假。)

Traditional math and English teachers have been reassigned to technical high schools, to make sure students on the vocational track still gain reading, writing and math skills.

And this fall, students enrolled in simulated workplaces will need to participate in one of the program’s boldest elements: random drug testing.

傳統的數學和英文老師被調派到職業高中,以確保技職體系的學生仍掌握讀、寫、算技能。

今年秋天,參加模擬職場專案的學生必須參與專案最大膽的項目之一:毒品隨機檢測。

Given the extent of the state’s opioid crisis, employers “wouldn’t take anything we were doing seriously until we passed that hurdle,” said Barry Crist, principal of the Fayette Institute of Technology in Oak Hill.

西維吉尼亞州橡樹山市「費耶特技術學院」校長克里斯特說,由於西維吉尼亞州有嚴重的鴉片類藥物危機,雇主「不會把我們做的當一回事,除非我們通過毒品這道關卡」。

West Virginia’s heavy push on vocational education comes as leaders of both parties have talked about making it a priority, a shift from the No Child Left Behind era of education reform, in which college for everyone was often the goal. In 2015, fewer than half of 25- to 34-year-olds nationwide had earned an associate or bachelor’s degree, according to census figures.

西維吉尼亞州力推職業教育之際,兩黨領袖也在討論優先推動技職教育,不啻告別「不放棄任何孩子」的教育改革時代,這種改革經常以「人人上大學」為目標。根據人口普查數據,2015年全美25到34歲的族群,獲有副學士或學士學位者不到一半。

“Vocational training is a great thing,” President Donald Trump said a week before Election Day. “We’re going to start it up big league.” In June, he signed an executive order that redirected federal job training funds toward apprenticeships, in which students learn skills at actual work sites.

美國總統川普在總統大選投票日的一周前說:「職業教育很棒,我們會大刀闊斧開辦。」他6月簽署行政命令,把聯邦政府職業訓練的專款改撥給學徒制,這種制度讓學生在實際工作場所學習技能。

Source: https://paper.udn.com/udnpaper/POH0067/317475/web/

文/Dana Goldstein譯/李京倫
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