Keeping an Eye on Political Campaigns
O'Brien, Nancy, Techniques
With Y2K fears abruptly abated and New Year's Eve parties a fun memory, ACTE is looking to the year 2000 as one holding great opportunities for career and technical education.
With the implementation of the Perkins Act underway and the official start of the Workforce Investment Act scheduled for July 1, a number of new polices are being developed or have been rolled out in states and local schools around the nation. While these new laws bring challenges along with potential for improvement and expansion, they do not represent the end of the debate on career and technical education, even for a short time.
Instead, the future of federal, state and local support for education is at the forefront of campaigning around the country for public offices that have direct influence over career and technical education policies.
Starting at the top, a new president will be elected this year. While the current administration played a key role in preserving the Perkins Act as a separate program and ensuring that block grants and private school vouchers did not come to pass, it gave little support for increased funding for career and technical education. The results have been just as the administration preferred -- continued but not increased support for the Perkins Act. Thus, the views of the president in determining federal support are paramount in the policymaking process.
ACTE is looking to the new administration for increased leadership in making career and technical education a federal budget priority. The presidential candidates' views on education are becoming known through televised debates and daily press coverage, but their views on career and technical education for the most part have not yet been voiced. …