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Education Reporter

Missouri Legislators Sign Letter Opposing 'CAREERS' Act

Nearly all Republican Missouri State Legislators signed a joint letter to Speaker Newt Gingrich opposing H.R. 1617, known as the CAREERS bill, which would expand and make permanent the School-to-Work Act passed by Congress in 1994. The text of the letter follows:

Dear Speaker Gingrich and Missouri Republican Delegation:

We, the undersigned Republican members of the Missouri House of Representatives, are very concerned about the broad scope of H.R. 1617 and the resulting effect on the nationžs educational system, in particular the system in our state. The bill centralizes unprecedented powers at the federal level. It requires that "The nationžs labor market information system shall be planned, administered, overseen, and evaluated by a cooperative governance structure involving the Federal Government and the States."

The education issue is the premier issue in our state right now as our Democrat Governor in 1993 passed a sweeping bill which gave unprecedented, broad powers to unaccountable bureaucrats. These powers included the ability to write "standards" and create assessment testing which would be the basis of all our childrenžs education. Legislators have NO oversight or binding authority over the development or approval of these items.

To further our concerns and problems, H.R. 1617 supersedes state laws and further takes us, the local elected officials of the people of this state, out of the process of education. Specifically, H.R. 1617 on page 74 of CAREERS (the "final" version) amends out the state legislature, replacing it with "the Governor of a state shall . . ." Let us please explain the practical effect of this change on us and the people we serve: in Missouri, the Democrat Governor instructed his bureaucrats to make application for Goals 2000 monies by defining a whole system of laws and procedures that we would put in place in order to get the money. Most legislators are only now, for the first time, even seeing what he is binding us and our children to.

In brief, our objections to Goals 2000, and to H.R. 1617 as it incorporates word-for-word many sections of Goals 2000, include the removal of local control from education and the centralization of power to the federal government including the need for approval from the Departments of Labor and Education for a statežs proposal for grant money. The terms used in the acts are of concern as they refer to items such as a "skill certificate" which children would be required to earn and which employers would be encouraged to require as a condition of employment. Finally, a myriad of new agencies, departments, and programs are created under both acts, and it appears a large centralized, nationwide data collection system will be put in place. Our Governoržs state grant request alludes to the idea that Missouri will change child age labor laws in order to get kids working early in vocational trades and that we will establish transportation to get students to these employment places.

Because many members of the Missouri House have been keeping a close eye on this issue, the Republican Missouri House members were able to ferret out $10 million in our statežs current proposed budget which we discovered is being stashed away to implement the statežs Goals 2000 policy, per the authority given to the Governor under H.R. 1617. This money was hidden in $5 million increments in two different budgets and was labeled "vocational education." Only under intense questioning were we able to learn that these monies were being earmarked to implement the Governoržs proposal, that we havenžt approved, per the legislation you wrote.

This practice -- the practice of avoiding the Legislature -- is unacceptable and flies in the face of the contention of local control of education. In addition, in a time when the administration of our schools is the defining isse between the parties in this state, we would respectfully request that you reconsider H.R. 1617. As a Minority party just six seats from gaining majority, we need the latitude to effect change when we control the House. We also need some legislative powers so that we, as a minority, can keep a check on the Democrat Governor of this state. Please revise the federal education law to repeal Goals 2000.

Thank you for your attention to this matter and your consideration of this request.

With best regards,

Rep. Mark L. Richardson -
Republican Floor Leader

Rep. Charlie Shields -
Republican Whip

Rep. Don Lograsso -
Asst. Republican Floor Leader

Rep. Delbert Scott -
Caucus Chairperson

Rep. Jim Froelker -
Caucus Secretary

Rep. Todd Akin
Rep. Cindy Ostmann
Rep. Chuck Pryor
Rep. Rich Chrismer
Rep. Glenn Hall
Rep. Jon Bennett
Rep. Carson Ross
Rep. Bill Alter
Rep. David Schwab
Rep. Beth Long
Rep. Ken Legan
Rep. Luann Ridgeway
Rep. Connie Cierpiot
Rep. Ronald Keeven
Rep. Laurie Donovan
Rep. Pat Kelley
Rep. Jim Murphy
Rep. Jim Mitchell
Rep. Linda Bartelsmeyer
Rep. Dave Oetting
Rep. Mary Kasten

Rep. Bill Foster
Rep. Bonnie Sue Cooper
Rep. John Loudon
Rep. Marilyn Edwards
Rep. Gary Burton
Rep. Bill Linton
Rep. Mike Gibbons
Rep. Harriet Brown
Rep. Norma Champion
Rep. Patricia Secrest
Rep. Jim Graham
Rep. Phil Wannemacher
Rep. Chuch Wooten
Rep. Chuck Surface
Rep. Catherine Enz
Rep. Don Summers
Rep. Sam Gaskill
Rep. Jim Howerton
Rep. Gary Marble
Rep. Rex Barnett
Rep. Paul Sombart
Rep. Paul Wieland
Rep. Bill Hand
Rep. Carl Hendrickson
Rep. Dale Whiteside
Rep. Matt Boatright
Rep. Mark Elliot
Rep. Ed Hartzler
Rep. David Levin
Rep. Estel Robirds
Rep. Charlie Ballard
Rep. Doyle Childers
Rep. Chuck Gross
Rep. Carl Vogel
Rep. Mary Lou Sallee
Rep. Fred Pouche

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