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Senate Passes Voc-Tech Funding Bill
Ohanian Comment:
Good News? When a bill passes 99 to 0, you know something must be fishy. Note the details in the AP story.

Under the Senate bill, states would have to create model sequences of coordinated high school and college courses, and schools would have to offer at least one of those sequences.

For a relatively small amount of money, the corporate crew gets standardization of the curriculum once again.

THURSDAY, MARCH 10, 2005 ERIK SMULSON 202-224-5141


WASHINGTON D.C. - The U.S. Senate today passed the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Improvement Act of 2005, legislation co-sponsored by U.S. Senator Jim Jeffords, I-Vt., that will maintain the program that was slated to be zeroed out under the Bush budget proposal. The vote was 99-0.

"I am very pleased to support this bill and am delighted by the overwhelming support for technical education shown by my colleagues," said Jeffords, a senior member of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee. "Today's vote on the Perkins Bill sends a clear message that the Senate does not agree with the President that this program should be eliminated."

Passage of the career and technical education bill is especially significant because President Bush eliminated this $1.3 billion program in his Fiscal Year 2006 budget proposal. For this current fiscal year, Vermont receives an estimated $4.5 million in federal funding for vocational technical education.

The Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Improvement Act provides federal funding for high school and post-secondary programs that integrate academics with technical skills. The bill the Senate passed will support partnerships established among high schools, post-secondary institutions, the business community and workforce boards that promote quality career and technical education.

Next week, the Senate is scheduled to consider the Fiscal Year 2006 Budget Resolution.

- 30 -

Diane Derby
Press Secretary
Office of Senator Jim Jeffords, I-Vt.
413 Dirksen Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510
202-224-9285 (work)
202-494-0139 (cell)

Senate Passes Vocational Education Bill

Published: March 10, 2005
New York Times

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Senate on Thursday approved its first update to vocational education law since 1998, aiming to demand more results from schools that receive federal money.

The nation's vocational education law, known as the Perkins Act, is up for renewal. The $1.3 billion program amounts to a small percentage of overall spending on career and technical education, but states count on the money to update their courses and expand access.

In his budget proposal for fiscal 2006, beginning Oct. 1, President Bush has called for the elimination of federal vocational programs, saying they have not been academically effective. But Congress disagrees.

Under the Senate bill, states would have to create model sequences of coordinated high school and college courses, and schools would have to offer at least one of those sequences.

States could withhold money from schools that fail to meet performance goals for at least two straight years, similar to an approach used for many schools under No Child Left Behind.

The Senate approved the bill 99-0 one day after the legislation cleared committee review.

``For many students, understanding how they will use the skills they learn can mean the difference between completing a high school degree and dropping out,'' said Sen. Mike Enzi, R-Wyo., who chairs the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions committee. ``For others, it means greater investment in their studies than they might otherwise have.''

The House plans to consider a similar measure soon. The two bills differ on such issues as state administrative costs and whether individual vocational programs ought to be merged.

Almost half of high school students and about one-third of college students make vocational programs a major part of their studies, from auto repair to health care.

— Senator Jeffords Press Release and Associated Press
New York Times


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