PROVIDING FOR CONSIDERATION OF H.R. 366, VOCATIONAL AND TECHNICAL EDUCATION FOR THE FUTURE ACT -- (House of Representatives - May 04, 2005)
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Mr. BOEHNER. Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague from Utah for his kind words, and Mr. Speaker, I rise in support of the rule which will allow for debate on an important piece of legislation, the Vocational and Technical Education for the Future Act.
The Vocational and Technical Education for the Future Act is a bipartisan bill that helps States and local communities improve educational opportunities for their students. This bill was crafted in cooperation with Members on both sides of the aisle, and with the support of numerous vocational and technical education leaders.
I am going to applaud the gentleman from Delaware (Mr. Castle) for producing this bill in a bipartisan manner and with the support of educators around the country. This bill fulfills our principles for reform by focusing on academic achievement for students and by preserving local control for States and communities.
H.R. 366 will improve vocational and technical education by focusing on academics without expanding the Federal role in education.
We streamline bureaucracy and give more money to local communities. We also streamline funding by consolidating the Tech-Prep program with the basic State grant.
Like other important education reform efforts, including No Child Left Behind and the Individuals With Disabilities and Education Act, the bill ensures equitable treatment for private school students. We ensure students and families are not denied access to programs because they choose to attend a private school.
Above all else, the bill recognizes the importance of maintaining local control. We are continuing to move away from the so-called "School to Work" model of the past, and we are maintaining our commitment to ensuring States and local communities have the final say when it comes to educational choices for their students.
The bill was approved by the Committee on Education and the Workforce by a voice vote. I look forward to similar bipartisan support for this legislation today.
Vocational and technical education is a vital component of our Nation's educational system. State and local communities use Perkins funding to help prepare youth and adults for the future.
Each year, millions of students enrich their secondary and post-secondary educational opportunities through participation in vocational and technical education. In fact, nearly all students, 96 percent, leave public high school having taken some vocational education courses. Further, nearly half of all high school students and about one-third of college students are involved in vocational programs as a major part of their studies. Perhaps as many as 40 million adults, one in four, engage in short-term, post-secondary occupational training.
The bill before us will build on the framework of the Perkins program by protecting the role of States and local communities, and asking for results in exchange for the money that we are already spending at the Federal level.
Mr. Speaker, I support the rule. I support the underlying bill. I believe that H.R. 366 will help States and local communities to strengthen opportunities for their students and improve vocational and technical education programs. I encourage my colleagues to vote "yes" on the rule and "yes" on passage of this important piece of legislation.
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