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Public Papers - 1990

Statement on Signing the Carl D. Perkins Vocational and Applied Technology Education Act Amendments of 1990

1990-09-25

Today, I am signing H.R. 7, the ``Carl D. Perkins Vocational and Applied Technology Education Act Amendments of 1990.'' This legislation amends and extends the Carl D. Perkins Vocational Education Act. It reauthorizes one of the Federal programs that supports State and local efforts to develop a work force that will keep this country competitive in the world market.

This Act creates a more effective vocational education program through its emphasis on accountability and program improvement. The Act requires that each State develop a system of performance standards and measures for secondary and post-secondary vocational education programs. It requires that State leadership activities include teacher training, curriculum development, and program assessment. It places a greater emphasis on programs that combine academic and vocational instruction and on programs that develop a coherent sequence of courses beginning in high school and continuing through community college. The Act encourages cooperative academic links between secondary and post-secondary institutions, with the goal of providing students with higher levels of technical competency.

In addition, H.R. 7 continues the important emphasis on providing access to quality vocational education programs to our least advantaged populations. It focuses on students with disabilities, students with limited English proficiency, and students who are educationally disadvantaged.

In signing this legislation, however, I must take note of two provisions that raise constitutional concerns. First, the Act requires that each State receiving funds must set aside a certain percentage for ``Sex Equity Programs'' that can be used, among other purposes, for educational activities for girls and women aged 14 through 25. Such activities would, on their face, discriminate on the basis of gender. Since the funding for ``Sex Equity Programs'' also can be used for other, nondiscriminatory programs, these nondiscriminatory programs will be preferred in administering the legislation. The discriminatory programs will be implemented only if there is a sufficiently strong justification to withstand judicial scrutiny.

Second, the Act requires the Secretary of Education to submit directly to the Congress two reports prepared by the Department of Education's Office of Educational Research and Improvement. According to subsection 403(c)(3), these reports ``shall not be subject to any review outside the Office of Educational Research and Improvement before their transmittal to Congress . . . .'' This provision is unconstitutional because it purports to preclude me from exercising my constitutional duty to supervise the executive branch. Because I cannot abandon my oversight responsibility, I shall treat the unconstitutional portion of the Act as severable from the rest of this legislation.

In conclusion, H.R. 7 excludes many of the changes proposed by my Administration and includes certain constitutionally troublesome provisions. However, it does reflect progress over current law. My Administration, particularly Secretaries Cavazos and Dole, will continue to work with the next Congress to make more improvements in the overall systems for financing and delivering training.

George Bush

The White House,

September 25, 1990.

Note: H.R. 7, approved September 25, was assigned Public Law No. 101 - 392.

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