U.S. Education Secretary: Vocational Training Programs Ineffective Nationwide

Article excerpt

The nation's top education official told Oklahoma legislators on Thursday that vocational training programs nationwide are ineffective. U.S. Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings defended the Bush administration's plan to slash funding for vocational education.

Spellings was invited to speak Thursday at state House of Representatives, fielding questions from lawmakers and guests.

Pat McGregor, executive director of the Oklahoma Association of Career and Technology Education, asked Spellings why President George W. Bush has for the last several years sought to cut funding for vocational education programs.

Bush's proposed budget for 2008 recommended the elimination of a program to help students transition between high school and vocational education, and to cut spending for state grants through the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act of 2006 from more than $1 billion down to about $600 million.

McGregor told Spellings about the hundreds of thousands enrolled at CareerTech facilities throughout the state, about the work CareerTech is doing regarding work force development and about retraining displaced workers and inmates transitioning out of prison.

But Spellings said that nationwide the vocational training system "in its entirety" has not proven to be effective, and is not yielding a level of results that warrants additional funding. …