The "school of the future" -- the Chester County Technical College High School we told you about in last week's paper, is a positive step in innovative education.

Recall, officials broke ground for a new technical high school-college on a 78-acre parcel in Penn Township last week.

The new school will offer dual college and high school enrollment as well as provide facilities for young children with Head Start and Even Start.

Chester County Intermediate Unit Director John Baillie said the school will be the model for a vision of the future, and we agree.

For one thing, it's close to home for students in Southern Chester County. That should be a boon to students in the area who hesitated to take vocational courses in Coatesville or Brandywine because of the long ride. It appears these future students will be able to catch the bus after classes and be back easily at Kennett, Unionville or Avon Grove in time for clubs and sports after school.

The school will also offer courses that will lead to gainful employment for its students.

The nation has plenty of high school seniors looking toward achieving high SAT scores and entering prestige colleges. But those elite educations don't ensure successful careers.

This new school provides vocational backgrounds for young adults who want to contribute to the growth of the nation by entering technical and service careers. The graduates of this school will become the technicians, mechanics, hairdressers, chefs and health aides. And they will be ready to jump into a job as soon as they finish high school.

Inasmuch as they can take first and second year college courses at the school, there is no limit to what they can progress to.

According to planners for the school, the students will be able to progress to a four-year college right out of their two-year post-high school program and graduate with a bachelor's degree.

We regret that the PSSA tests and No Child Left Behind has put pressure on the schools to stress reading, math and writing skills, often to the exclusion of science, music, art, physical education, history and industrial arts. It's even questionable that coercing schools into getting kids to score high on tests will actually make them any smarter or provide the nation with a more intelligent workforce.

This is where the Chester County Technical College High School shows the wisdom of our regional educators at the Chester County Intermediate Unit. How much more satisfying it will be for young adults who have a vision for a career to get right to it, to learn the skills and actually to participate in the generation of products and services.

We have heard some in the academic community speak disparagingly of students who attend "Vo Tech." That attitude may keep some kids who have a hankering to choose work over study from joining the ranks of vocational-technical education because of academic and social pressure. Perhaps with the birth of this new school -- closer to home, gleaming and new, connected to college -- those who are on the edge will make the move, and the business world will be better for it.

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