CONFERENCE REPORT ON S. 250, CARL D. PERKINS CAREER AND TECHNICAL EDUCATION IMPROVEMENT ACT OF 2006
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Mr. KIND. Mr. Speaker, I rise today in support of the Reauthorization of the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Improvement Act. As a member of the Education and the Workforce Committee and having served on the Conference Committee, I am pleased we have reached an agreement to ensure the continuation of this important program.
Research shows that secondary students who participate in career and technical education achieve better employment and earnings outcomes than other students. Further, these students are more likely to pursue postsecondary education, have a higher grade point average in college, and are less likely to drop out in the first year of college.
Recognizing the positive contributions of career and technical education, I support swift passage of this bill. This legislation is the product of considerable and effective bipartisan negotiations.
While I intend to continue working with my colleagues on the Senate side to improve the particular funding levels for Wisconsin through the appropriations process, I am satisfied with the overall bill. A lot of time and work by committee members and staff have been put into drafting the best bill possible that everyone can support.
Specifically, I am glad that S. 250 retains a separate authorization for the Tech Prep program. The House-passed bill eliminated this separate funding and during committee consideration of the bill, Representative TIERNEY and I offered an amendment to restore Tech Prep as a separate authorization.
Tech Prep creates seamless pathways for secondary students to transition into post-secondary education programs in the high-skill, high-wage technical fields. These academically and technically prepared graduates are critical to the economic growth, productivity and internal competitiveness of the United States. Knowing how critical this funding is to our local communities, I am pleased funding for the Tech Prep program has been kept separate from the Perkins block grant.
In addition to protecting Tech Prep, the conference report increases the role of math, science and technology in career and technical education programs and encourages the expanded use of technology by teachers and faculty. Increasing the emphasis given to science, technology, and mathematics is critical for the United States to retain its global competitiveness. We cannot afford to ignore growing competition from other countries by directing our resources away from these fields of study.
Again, I would like to thank all those in the education community who participated in reauthorization for their input and work on this bill. I am particularly pleased to acknowledge Dr. Bill Ihlenfeldt, President of the Chippewa Valley Technical College in Eau Claire, WI, who testified before the Education and the Workforce Committee in May of 2004. His thoughts and perspective on reauthorization of the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Improvement Act were invaluable in addressing the needs of our country. His insight was especially helpful in considering issues of importance for the 53,000 students attending technical schools in my district--Western Technical College, Chippewa Valley Technical College, and Southwest Tech--as well as the countless career and technical secondary students in the Third Congressional District of western Wisconsin. I urge my colleagues to vote yes.
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