By David Goodwin
U.S. Rep. Martha Roby (R-Montgomery) took a tour of Wetumpka High Tuesday afternoon.
She met with Principal Richard Dennis, Elmore County Schools Superintendent Jeff Langham and other school leaders to learn about the vocational and technical programs offered in the county schools.
Roby said she was touring many of the high schools in the Second Congressional District to gather information for her post on the House Education and Workforce Committee.
She met with Wetumpka High students, answering their questions and quizzing them on some of the vocations they were planning to enter after graduation.
"I want to hear directly from you about the challenges you face to guide me as we make decisions in Washington," Roby said.
She said federal education officials control too much of what happens in local schools, when "teachers, superintendents and parents should make decisions about your education."
"They know you best; not a bureaucrat in Washington," she said.
Elmore County Technical Center Director Carl Thomas spoke with her about his concern that support for vocational learning might be among the cuts made in the 2011 budget.
The career and technical program is primarily funded by the federal Carl D. Perkins Vocational Act, Thomas said. Without its reauthorization, it would be hard to maintain ECTC's equipment.
"I was trying to impress on her that about 2/3 to 3/4 of the students in her district take at least one career tech course in high school," he said. "We need her help."
Roby was given a tour of Monica Brown's Family Consumer Science class, where students were situated behind sewing machines, working on a project.
She also explained to students about the role of the U.S. Congress.