[Federal Register: September 24, 2002 (Volume 67, Number 185)]
[Notices]               
[Page 59834-59837]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]
[DOCID:fr24se02-41]                         

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DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION

 
Office of Vocational and Adult Education; Reauthorization of 
Federal Support for Vocational and Technical Education Programs

AGENCY: Office of Vocational and Adult Education, U.S. Department of 
Education.

ACTION: Notice of public meetings and request for comment on the 
reauthorization of Federal support for vocational and technical 
education programs.

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SUMMARY: The Assistant Secretary announces a series of public meetings 
and invites comments from the public regarding the reauthorization of 
programs under the Carl D. Perkins Vocational and Technical Education 
Act of 1998 (the Act) and related issues, including Federal support for 
secondary school reform.

[[Page 59835]]

Public Meetings

    Dates, Time, and Addresses: We will hold public meetings according 
to the following schedule:
    1. Date: October 15, 2002, Time: 9 a.m. to 12 p.m.
    Location: Sheraton Nashua Hotel, Wentworth Ballroom, 11 Tara 
Boulevard, Nashua, NH 03062. Phone: (603) 888-9970. Fax: (603) 891-
4179.
    Hotel Information: A limited number of rooms has been reserved at 
the Sheraton Nashua Hotel located at 11 Tara Boulevard, Nashua, NH 
03062. To make your reservations, please call 603-888-9970 and refer to 
``OVAE Public Meeting.'' The room rate is $96.12 (tax inclusive) for 
the reserved rooms on a first-come, first-served basis. Check-in time 
is 3 p.m., and check-out time is 12 p.m.
    2. Date: October 25, 2002, Time: 9 a.m. to 12 p.m.
    Location: College of The Canyons, 26455 Rockwell Canyon Road, Santa 
Clarita, CA 91355. Phone: (661) 259-7800. Fax: (661) 259-8302.
    Hotel Information: A limited number of rooms has been reserved at 
the Hyatt Valencia Hotel located at 24500 Town Center Drive, Valencia, 
CA 91355. To make your reservations, please call 1-800-233-1234 and 
refer to ``OVAE Public Meeting.'' The room rate is $108.90 (tax 
inclusive) for the reserved rooms on a first-come, first-served basis. 
Check-in time is 3 p.m., and check out time is 12 p.m.
    Participants: Those who wish to present comments on the 
reauthorization of Federal support for vocational and technical 
education programs and related issues at one of the public meetings 
must reserve time on the agenda for that meeting by contacting the 
individuals identified under Reservations and Additional Meeting 
Information. Reservations for presenting comments will be accepted on a 
first-come, first-served basis.
    Participants will be allowed approximately 3 to 5 minutes to 
present their comments, depending upon the number of individuals who 
reserve time on the agenda. At the meeting, participants also are 
encouraged to submit two written copies of their comments. Persons 
interested in making comments are encouraged to address the issues and 
questions discussed under SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION.
    Reservations and Additional Meeting Information: Individuals who 
intend to present comments at one of the public meetings must make 
reservations by contacting Gerri Anderson, Conference Manager, 1010 
Wayne Ave, Suite 300, Silver Spring, Maryland 20910 (voice) 1(888) 589-
4366; (fax) (301) 589-4122; (Federal Information Relay Service) 1-800-
877-8339; (e-mail) ganderson@dbconsultinggroup.com.

Assistance to Individuals With Disabilities at the Public Meetings

    The meeting rooms and proceedings will be accessible to individuals 
with disabilities. In addition, when making reservations, anyone 
presenting comments at or attending a meeting who needs special 
accommodations, such as sign language interpreters, Braille materials, 
and communication access real-time transcription, should inform the 
previously listed individual of his or her specific accessibility 
needs. You should make requests for accommodations at least 10 working 
days prior to the scheduled meeting date. Although we will attempt to 
meet a request we receive after that date, we may not be able to make 
available the requested auxiliary aid or service because of 
insufficient time to arrange it.

Request for Written Comments

    In addition to soliciting comments during the public meetings, we 
invite the public to submit written comments on the reauthorization of 
Federal support for vocational and technical education programs, as 
well as related issues, including secondary school reform. We are 
particularly interested in comments that address the issues and 
questions described under SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION.

DATES: Submit comments on or before October 31, 2002.

ADDRESSES: Written comments should be addressed to Gerry Anderson, 
Conference Manager, 1010 Wayne Ave, Suite 300, Silver Spring, Maryland 
20910.
    1. E-Mail. We encourage you to e-mail your comments to the 
following address: ganderson@dbconsultinggroup.com.
    2. Facsimile. You may submit comments by facsimile at (301) 589-
4122. If you use a telecommunications device for the deaf, you may call 
(202) 205-5538.
    Individuals with disabilities may obtain a copy of this notice in 
an alternative format (e.g., Braille, large print, audiotape, or 
computer diskette) on request to the contact person listed in the 
previous paragraph. Availability of Copies of the Act: You may obtain 
an electronic copy of the Act on the Internet at the following site: 
http://www.ed.gov/offices/OVAE/CTE/legis.html.
    Individuals with disabilities may obtain a copy of the Act in an 
alternative format (e.g., Braille, large print, audiotape, or computer 
diskette) on request to the contact number listed in the previous 
paragraph.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The Act authorizes Federal support to 
improve secondary and postsecondary vocational and technical education 
programs. The Act includes seven programs, with more than $1.3 billion 
in funding for Fiscal Year 2002. The funded programs are: the 
Vocational and Technical Education State Grants; Tech-Prep Education 
State Grants; National Activities, including a national research 
center; the Native American Vocational and Technical Education program; 
the Tribally-Controlled Postsecondary Vocational and Technical 
Institutions program; America's Career Resource Network grants to 
States; and the Tech-Prep Demonstration program.
    The statutory authorization for these programs expires on September 
30, 2004. In order to contribute in a timely manner to congressional 
reauthorization discussions, we are beginning a review of these 
programs, as well as related issues, including secondary school reform. 
To ensure public participation in our review and decision-making, we 
invite public comment on these issues.

Key Issues for Public Comment

    Comments are encouraged on the following priority issues.
1. Narrowing the Achievement Gap
    Since the release of A Nation At Risk in 1983, little if any, 
improvement has been made in the performance of our nation's high 
school students. By all accounts, improvements have not been 
substantial enough so that every student is prepared for a successful 
future. In fact, data show that by the end of the 1980s, progress 
stopped cold and, through the 1990s, achievement gaps have remained 
stable or widened. A number of trends indicate that we may still be a 
``nation at risk'' of not preparing our students for their future.
    Scores by 12th graders on the National Assessment of Educational 
Progress (NAEP) remain disturbingly low. As of 1998, only 40 percent of 
12th graders were able to read at or above a proficient level and just 
22 percent were able to write at or above a proficient level. Only 16 
percent of 12th grade students in 2000 scored at or above a proficient 
level in math and 18 percent scored at or above a proficient level in 
science. Despite a substantial decrease in achievement gaps between 
1970 and 1999, white students still consistently outperform peers of 
other racial and ethnic backgrounds in every subject area. In fact, by 
1999, on average, 17-

[[Page 59836]]

year-old African-American and Hispanic students had skills in English, 
mathematics, and science skills comparable to those of 13-year-old 
White students. Achievement gaps also exist among students who pursue 
different programs of study. As of 1994, vocational concentrators 
lagged behind other students in English, math, and science achievement.
    On January 8, 2002, President George W. Bush signed into law the No 
Child Left Behind Act of 2001, the most sweeping reform of the 
Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) since it was enacted in 
1965. Its provisions include increased accountability for States, 
school districts, and schools; greater choice for parents and students, 
particularly those attending low-performing schools; more flexibility 
for States and local educational agencies in the use of Federal 
education dollars; and a stronger emphasis on reading, especially for 
our youngest children.
    Although No Child Left Behind applies to both elementary and 
secondary students, it places primary and much-needed emphasis on the 
28 million public school students enrolled in kindergarten through 8th 
grade. Follow-up action that builds on No Child Left Behind may be 
needed to improve the achievement of the nation's high school students.
    [sbull] Is there a need for additional or separate Federal action 
to address the achievement gap among secondary school students?
    [sbull] Is there a need for additional or separate Federal action 
to address the achievement gap among non-baccalaureate postsecondary 
students?
    [sbull] How should Federal support for vocational and technical 
education programs be aligned with Title I of the Elementary and 
Secondary Education Act and other elementary and secondary education 
programs?
    [sbull] The current array of Federal programs that impact high 
schools and their students, may or may not represent a coherent Federal 
high school policy.
    [sbull] What policies and programmatic elements would an effective, 
coherent Federal strategy to promote high school transformation 
include?
    [sbull] How would existing vocational and technical education be 
modified to support this Federal strategy?
    [sbull] Nearly one-third of college freshman take remedial math 
courses, and over one-quarter take remedial English. In some states, 
estimates of students requiring college remediation are nearly 50 
percent. What can be done to assure that every student is prepared for 
postsecondary education, without the need for remediation?
2. Focusing on What Works
    The Federal investment in vocational and technical education 
comprises about seven percent of the total amount spent nationally on 
vocational and technical education.
    [sbull] How can these limited resources be targeted to maximize the 
return on the Federal investment?
    [sbull] What are the features of effective secondary vocational and 
technical education programs that should be given higher priority for 
Federal resources?
    [sbull] What are the features of effective postsecondary vocational 
and technical education programs that should be given higher priority 
for Federal resources?
    [sbull] How should our national program funds be targeted to help 
close the achievement gap between high and low performing students, 
including factors that are based on gender, ethnicity, economic status 
and disability?
3. Increasing Accountability for Student Performance
    The Act established a State accountability system that holds States 
accountable for meeting annual, agreed-upon levels of performance on a 
set of ``core indicators'' specified in the statute. Each State has 
discretion to determine how it will measure each of the indicators.
    [sbull] While the Act's accountability system has heightened 
attention on student achievement, completion, and other outcomes, some 
contend that the system is needlessly complex and does not generate 
straightforward, easily understandable information about student, 
program, and State performance. How can this accountability system be 
simplified and improved?
    [sbull] The law uses a single set of indicators to measure the 
effectiveness of both secondary and postsecondary programs. However, 
some of the indicators, such as attainment of State-establish academic 
proficiencies, are not readily applicable to postsecondary education. 
What indicators are most appropriate and useful for measuring the 
effectiveness of postsecondary vocational and technical education 
programs? To what types of students should they apply? For example, 
should non-credit students be included in the accountability system?
4. Coordination With Federal Employment and Training Programs
    Title I of the Workforce Investment Act (WIA) created a one-stop 
delivery system that links multiple Federal education and training 
programs in order to make these services more accessible to the public, 
to reduce duplication of services, and to facilitate coordinated 
planning across programs. Postsecondary vocational and technical 
education programs supported by the Act are ``mandatory partners'' that 
are required to participate in the one-stop delivery system. They are 
also represented on local workforce investment boards that govern the 
one-stop system in local areas.
    [sbull] Have the one-stop delivery system's goals of improving 
public access to postsecondary vocational and technical education, 
reducing duplication, and facilitating coordination been achieved in 
local areas? What changes are needed to promote the further attainment 
of these goals? How have memoranda of understanding [MOUs] worked to 
benefit the postsecondary vocational and technical education 
participant?
    [sbull] States negotiate annual levels of performance for WIA Title 
I employment programs for a set of ``core indicators'' that are similar 
to that established under the Act. Placement in employment, for 
example, is measured for both WIA Title I and the Act. Should these 
indicators be measured consistently across these programs and others, 
using the same population and other definitions? How should this common 
employment measure be constructed and what definitions should be used? 
Are there other indicators [e.g., educational attainment] for which 
there should also be common measurement approaches and definitions?
    [sbull] Have WIA incentive grants helped States look at ways to 
promote student achievement across programs and help close the 
achievement gap?

Electronic Access to This Document

    You may view this document, as well as all other Department of 
Education documents published in the Federal Register, in text or Adobe 
Portable Document Format (PDF) on the Internet at the following site: 
www.ed.gov/legislation/FedRegister.
    To use PDF you must have Adobe Acrobat Reader, which is available 
free at this site. If you have questions about using PDF, call the U.S. 
Government Printing Office (GPO), toll free, at 1-888-293-6498; or in 
the Washington, DC, area at (202) 512-1530.

    Note: The official version of this document is the document 
published in the Federal Register. Free Internet access to the 
official edition of the Federal Register and the Code of Federal 
Regulations is available on GPO Access at: http://
www.access.gpo.gov/nara/index.html.


    Program Authority:  20 U.S.C. 2301, et seq.


[[Page 59837]]


    Dated: September 19, 2002.
Carol D'Amico,
Assistant Secretary for Vocational and Adult Education.
[FR Doc. 02-24251 Filed 9-23-02; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4000-01-P