Title

A HISTORY OF STATE SUPPORTED PROGRAMS FOR VOCATIONAL EDUCATION IN RHODE ISLAND AND ITS SIGNIFICANCE ON FUTURE DEVELOPMENTS (1872-1975)

Date of Completion

January 1982

Keywords

Education, Vocational

Degree

Ph.D.

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to examine the history of state supported programs for vocational education in Rhode Island in order to determine: (1) the reasons for the slow and uneven growth of program enrollments until the late 1950's; (2) the reasons for the rapid development of program enrollments during the 1960's and early 1970's, and (3) whether the recent evidence of support can be identified and applied to the present to give direction to the capital development plan for vocational education.^ The research design includes an analysis of the environmental (social, economic, political) factors apparently related to the development of vocational education in Rhode Island. In order to provide some perspective for the reader, an overview of the history of education in Rhode Island and of vocational education to 1917 is also presented. Interviews were conducted with ten persons who were known to have been in a decision making position during the period of program development (1950-1975).^ The following conclusions may be made regarding the growth of vocational education in Rhode Island. (1) Local control of all educational programs, including vocational education, has led to an erratic pattern of program growth. (2) Except for the personal interest of Governor Dennis J. Roberts during the 1950's, the organization, administration and finance of Rhode Island's vocational education program through the early 1960's appears to have had little positive direction or support from responsible state officials. (3) An expanded and separate state administration for vocational education together with a substantial increase in federal funds permitted the development of a three-phase capital development program during the 1960's. (4) The Rhode Island State Advisory Council for Vocational Education and the Blackstone Valley Chamber of Commerce were the most influential support groups during the 1960's and early 1970's. (5) Recent evidences of support for vocational education can be identified as they emerge from a consideration of environmental factors. (6) Additional facility construction in Phase III may not be appropriate due to declining secondary school enrollment, increased construction costs and voter reluctance to approve additional funds. ^