Among Dana Goldstein’s reasons for arguing that no true progressive should homeschool: to do so would keep high-achieving kids from being around low-achieving kids and helping them, and to do so would prevent homeschooled kids from experiencing diversity.

But in an earlier post, Goldstein praised the French emphasis on high-quality vocational education. Excerpt:

In the last three years of high school, or lycee, French teenagers choose to focus on the hard sciences, social sciences, or literature, or from among eight career-oriented “technical” courses of study, including the food sciences, health sciences, and hospitality.

Americans are–and probably should be–skeptical of efforts to “track” 15-year olds into specific careers, especially given the vast inequities in children’s educational and social opportunities before they ever enter high school. But some of the most thoughtful education reformers I’ve talked to in my reporting are Americans who are trying to seed workforce-relevancy into our own school system, by introducing young adults to possible professions in an intellectually rigorous way. This is important work, because we know one of the primary causes of dropping-out is that low-income students don’t see how their education will help them land a job or build a satisfying, remunerative career in the future.

 But … but … what about the injustice of shunting off certain high schoolers into vocational education, depriving them of the chance to experience the diversity and otherwise benefit from being around more academically-oriented kids? Isn’t this inegalitarian, and therefore non-progressive?