Magazine article Techniques

It's Recess: Let's Get Busy

Magazine article Techniques

It's Recess: Let's Get Busy

Article excerpt

When Congress reconvenes in January, legislators will once again try to reauthorize the Carl D. Perkins Vocational and Applied Technology Education Act. By no means is their success a given, despite that "re" prefix.

The same issue that stymied the 104th Congress in its attempt at the Perkins reauthorization has resurfaced--consolidation. Though the House has approved a bill, the Carl D. Perkins Vocational-Technical Education Act Amendments of 1997 (H.R. 1853), that protects vocational education's separate status, the Senate education committee is persisting with a bill that blurs the lines between vocational education and job training funds.

We need a reauthorized Perkins Act. History shows that a federal act in limbo rarely gets funding increases from appropriations committees. Their thinking goes: Why support even a popular, bipartisan program with more money when Congress hasn't yet decided how it should be reauthorized? on the other hand, the American Vocational Association can't support bills that may have the long-term effect of diminishing vocational education's status as a standalone program.

AVA strongly supported the House bill, though it is not perfect, because it ensures that funds appropriated for Perkins will wind up supporting school-based vocational-technical education programs. We cannot say the same for the Senate's Workforce investment Partnership Act (S. 1186), which encompasses not only vocational-technical education programs but also adult education and job training programs. The bill would allow states to merge funds for these programs, possibly resulting in the loss of support for school-based programs. …

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