Yes, vocational education in middle school and high school is justified as not all students are going to wish to take a college preparation path. While higher education is certainly a good thing, there are many careers someone could take in which such education is not necessary, and thus vocational training helps these people.
Vocational education can be a good match for some students. As long as students are placed in a vocational track versus a college track fairly (regardless of factors such as income, race, or gender), vocational education can be a benefit to students who lack an interest in college. Trade skills can provide these students with a lofe long benefit.
Vocational Track is not a suitable way for school, what if you do vocational track to be a mechanic, and they don't like it, then its 12 more years of school, good luck being 30 and in 12th grade. What if the job you want NEEDs college to join. - Nyan