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US: Bush signs vocational education bill into law

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The White House announced Monday that President Bush has signed the Perkins Act, the first major update of the nation's vocational education law since 1998.

Bush signed the law after Congress overwhelmingly rejected his attempts to scrap it.

The law steers $1.3 billion a year into career-based courses in high schools and community colleges. The legislation extends the vocational programs through 2012.

The renewed law emphasizes rigor and results.

It requires states to run career programs that will give students a broad base of academic skills, not just technical ones. In exchange for money, states and school districts must produce more evidence that students are making progress and landing good jobs.

The legislation orders states to come up with model sequences of courses from high school through college. The goal is to give students a clear path of training for work.

The White House has called the vocational programs ineffective and sought to end them.

Bush proposed shifting the money into a new program of expanded high school testing and help for struggling learners. States could still spend money on career courses under his plan.

But Congress never seriously considered the overhaul that Bush wanted.

Bush signed the bill Saturday. The White House has said Congress worked with the Bush administration on the bill to improve the way schools are held accountable.

Copyright 2006 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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Posted in: News by NewsBot on August 15, 2006 @ 12:00 AM

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