Mike Pence and Bill Lee

Governor Bill Lee is big on pushing a vocational/technical education agenda. In fact, it was his first public policy proposal.

Back in 2015, Mike Pence was the Governor of Indiana. He proposed an expansive program to enhance vocational/technical education. Here’s more on how that’s worked out from an economist at Ball State University in Indiana:

Back in 2015, I welcomed Gov. Pence’s call for more vocational education in schools. But, what was designed as a wise policy to prepare more students for a productive life at work ended up causing the state’s school board to weaken curriculum requirements. This has left us with a workforce less prepared to withstand automation-related job disruption.

Let me say it plainly. Our educational policy shifts were not merely unwise but wholly uninformed. By focusing on the needs of just a few vocal businesses at the expense of students, we have significantly weakened the state’s economy.

By softening the educational requirements in high schools, and by promoting jobs of today rather than careers for the future, we may well have squandered the opportunity for rapid growth during the longest recovery in U.S. history. It is time for the General Assembly to undertake a thoughtful and informed review of our human capital policies. It is also time for employers and households to make it clear to elected officials that the long-term interests of Indiana lie in a well-educated and well-trained workforce.

Stay tuned to see if Lee follows the Pence script by expanding vocational education and then expanding vouchers, potentially doubly weakening Tennessee schools.

For more on education politics and policy in Tennessee, follow @TNEdReport

undefined

First


Governor Bill Lee’s first legislative initiative focuses on education, specifically, vocational education.

Here’s the press release announcing the GIVE Act:

Today, Tennessee Governor Bill Lee announced his first legislative initiative, the Governor’s Investment in Vocational Education (GIVE) to expand access to vocational and technical training for Tennessee students.

“I believe that expanding our vocational and technical offerings will be transformational for Tennesseans and the future of our state,” said Lee. “We have the opportunity to help students discover quality career paths and gain skills that are needed right now in the workforce by emphasizing career and technical education.”

The GIVE initiative is a two-pronged approach that utilizes regional partnerships to develop work-based learning and apprenticeship opportunities. Communities will now have the funding and flexibility to build programs that best reflect local needs and work directly with private industry to structure programming.

GIVE also provides funding for high school juniors and seniors to utilize four, fully-funded dual enrollment credits for trade and technical programs. Previously, high school students only had access to two fully-funded dual enrollment credits. With access to four credits, students will now be better prepared for entry into the workforce within two years of graduation.

“With GIVE, there is now a framework in place to partner with the private sector in addressing gaps in our workforce,” said Lee. “This initiative also puts students in charge of their future by preparing them for a good job right out of high school.”

Two grant programs will fund the initiative: GIVE Community Grants and GIVE Student Grants. Using the framework of the state’s Labor Education Alignment Program (LEAP), the governor will recommend new funding in support of work-based learning through GIVE Community Grants. These competitive grants will go to regional partnerships between TCATs, industry, and K-12 to build new programs in work-based learning and apprenticeships, market-driven dual-credit opportunities, and the expansion of industry-informed CTE offerings at local high schools.

GIVE Student Grants will be funded via the Tennessee Lottery and support expanded access to dual enrollment.

“It is time to make sure education in Tennessee embraces multiple pathways to success,” said Lee. “We believe GIVE is a key step for the future of our kids and ensuring we can fill the jobs of tomorrow.”

 

For more on education politics and policy in Tennessee, follow @TNEdReport