Freedom First Society

Issue: H.R. 5587 Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act.  Question: On Motion to Suspend the Rules and Pass, as Amended.

Result: Passed in House, 405 to 5, 21 not voting. GOP and Democrats scored.

Freedom First Society: H.R. 5587 would reauthorize, through FY 2022, the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act of 2006, which provided federal support for career and technical education programs in all 50 States. The reauthorization revises requirements for within-state funding allocations and for evaluating performance. In short, the reauthorization would continue the unconstitutional overreach of the federal government to control education. 

We have assigned (good vote) to the Nays and (bad vote) to the Yeas. (P = voted present; ? = not voting; blank = not listed on roll call.)

Analysis: Congress first authorized the Carl D. Perkins Vocational and Technical Education Act in 1984. The most recent reauthorization was signed by President George W. Bush in 2006 and expired in 2012.

This unconstitutional federal funding of state technical education programs was promoted as a step to help the economy. But as the 19th Century free-market legislator Frederick Bastian once observed, the socialists can be seen to concoct “the antidote and the poison in the same laboratory.” Such is certainly the case in almost every area of concern today.

Too much government overhead and regulation, combined with perverse incentives, have pushed manufacturing and heavy industry, such as steel production, abroad. And with that export of capital intensive production went thousands of high paying jobs. Now the federal government claims to be acting responsibly to fund technical training, having killed much of the demand.

And in the process, Congress continues to establish Big Brother as the dominant authority in education. Indeed, the collectivist rhetoric that all blessings must flow from the state is in high swing. And, of course, the cost, both to a vibrant domestic economy and to our freedom, of this assault on limited constitutional government is ignored.

We include here a few excerpts from the House speech-making in support of H.R. 5587, cloaked as a “debate”:

Congressional Record (9-13-16)

Glenn Thompson (R-PA):

“Mr. Speaker, a weak economy and advances in technology have dramatically changed today’s job market, creating both challenges and opportunities for men and women entering the workforce. This is why equipping today’s students with the tools they need to remain competitive is essential. One way we can achieve that goal is by strengthening career and technical education programs for those eager to pursue pathways to success.

“As cochair of the Career and Technical Education Caucus, I have worked hard to increase awareness about the opportunities available through CTE….

“Recognizing the importance of engagement with community leaders and local businesses, this bill empowers State and local leaders by providing them with the flexibility they need to best prepare their students for the workforce and to respond to the changing needs of their communities.’

Katherine Clark (D-Massachussetts):

“Mr. Speaker, I rise today in strong support of H.R. 5587, the Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act, legislation that I am proud to introduce with the gentleman from Pennsylvania (Mr. Thompson)….

“The bill before us is proof that Democrats and Republicans can come together and do the right thing for America’s students, workers, and employers.

“The Perkins Career and Technical Education program reaches over 11 million American students across the country each year….

“This bill will help families by preparing them with the skills they need to thrive in high-demand fields as diverse as child care, advanced manufacturing, carpentry, computer science, automotive technology, culinary arts, and more.

“This legislation is supported by over 200 leading national organizations, including educators, trade groups, and major employers across the country.

It was reported by the House Education and the Workforce Committee without a single dissenting vote, which I think reflects the

bipartisan, good faith process by which we came together to draft and introduce this bill.”

“Specifically, I am pleased this legislation takes steps to help policymakers measure what does and does not work in career and technical education, allowing us to build on our past successes….

“It directly supports our early education and childcare workforce and brings the Perkins program into the modern 21st century global economy.”

Tim Walberg (R-Michigan):

“Mr. Speaker, I rise in support of H.R. 5587, which will help people in Michigan and across the country find meaningful careers in the 21st century workforce by updating our career and technical education programs….

“This bill will help create pathways to careers by encouraging States to review their regulatory climate and ensure it does not create unnecessary barriers for job growth.”

Bobby Scott (D-Virginia):

“We need to make sure that we have greater accountability for program quality. We want to ensure that we have more inclusive collaboration between educational institutions, industries, employers, and community partners. And we need to make sure that those programs are aligned with our recent K through 12 education and workforce systems.”

James Langevin (D-Rhode Island):

“The bill also expands student access to work-based learning opportunities. This will help students to bridge the gap between classroom theory and workplace practice and align skills and training with employer needs.”

Todd Rokita (R-Indiana, chairman of the Subcommittee on Early Childhood, Elementary, and Secondary Education that has jurisdiction on this bill):

“Now, through a number of commonsense measures, Mr. Speaker, this bill is delivering the reforms that will provide the flexibility to State and local leaders to meet those unique local needs, build stronger engagement with employers, and ensure that CTE programs are delivering results….

“First, the good news. All across the country, there is an exciting and growing need for trade and technical skills to fill jobs that young people can build a career and life around. Advanced manufacturing opportunities in aerospace, maritime, and even health care are happening from coast to coast. And the question of the day for many employers is whether our education and job training systems are ready to fill the need.

“Recent updates to K-12 and job training programs signed into law by President Obama in 2014 and 2015 built a positive platform to address this challenge, and passage of this bill for technical programs will add to that capability.

Susan Davis (D-California):

“I am excited that this bill places an emphasis on teachers getting opportunities to advance their knowledge and skills. Teachers need support and training from industry leaders so that they can take their knowledge back to students.”


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