The Administration is committed to enactment of legislation to reauthorize
vocational-technical education programs, including a separate tech-prep
program, as proposed in H.R. 1853. The Administration has serious reservations
about H.R. 1853, but does not oppose House passage of the bill. The
Administration will work to improve the bill in the Senate.
In its present form, the bill:
- Fails to ensure grantees' accountability for Federal funds to assist
students in attaining the advanced academic and occupational skills that are
necessary for high-skill, high-wage careers. It does not ensure the
establishment of challenging performance goals/objectives or the joint
development of core performance indicators with the Federal Government, States,
and other important stakeholders to measure program effectiveness across all
States and local areas. As a result, it is highly unlikely that the Department
of Education would be able to meet performance objectives envisioned under the
Government Performance and Results Act.
- Insufficiently emphasizes program quality and effectiveness by: (1)
limiting the ability of States to design and implement programs to attain
industry-recognized skill standards; (2) providing insufficient resources for
State leadership and administration; and (3) reducing the reasonable minimum
local grant size below current law.
- Fails to provide for adequate intra-State targeting of program funds to
schools and postsecondary institutions with the greatest need for funds.
H.R. 1853 would affect direct spending and receipts; therefore, it is subject
to the pay-as-you-go requirement of the Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of
1990. OMB estimates that H.R. 1853 would decrease direct spending by $1
million in FY 1998 and a total of $29 million during FYs 1998-2002.