From the February 1999 Idaho Observer:


School to Work turns governor into WorkFORCE czar

Under consitutional guidlines which promte a system of checks and balances, Governor Kempthorne is the state's head executive who must depend upon the expertise of officers elected to other executive positions, such as the director of public instruction, to make sound policy decisions; he must also depend upon the legislature to pass laws that implement such policy. The federal School-to-Work agenda provides for things to be done a little differently. The process bypasses the legislature and removes all authority from the director of public instruction. A governor-appointed council reports to the governor and the governor reports directly to the secretary of labor in Washington D.C. In other words, the closed circle of people who are most likely to view your child as a human resource are the ones who are plotting your child's public education. ~DWH

by Kathy Thomsen

Under the guise of “consolidation” and “increased local control, the federal Workforce Investment Act unconstitutionally usurps local governance by establishing unelected, unaccountable governor-appointed WorkFORCE Development councils who have decision-making authority over job training programs in local communities.

These councils will predict the type of jobs needed for the future and dictate the type of training and skills they deem necessary for those jobs.

School-to-Work complements this by stating that schools will train students to fill jobs within the local community. Further, the act gives broad discretion to governors in approving states' WorkFORCE investment plans -- a process that entirely bypasses the state legislature. The legislature will be allowed only to vote on how to distribute the money and will have no control over what to spend the money on.

State legislators should be outraged. With the exception of the four representatives who sit on the council, no other state legislator will have any input into, or control over what these un-elected power brokers decide for Idaho.

The WorkFORCE Development Council alone reports to the governor, who alone reports to the U.S. Secretary of Labor.

The growing power of the governor of each state to control basic education policy started with Goals 2000, continued with the Schools to Work Opportunities Act of 1994 and is now seen in the Workforce Investment Act of 1997. In each case, only the governor of each state decides on the plan that determines the receipt of federal funds. Considering the enormous power placed in the hands of governors, it is any wonder then-Senator Kempthorne voted for the bill?

Never in Idaho?

Consider this:

In August of 1996, Governor Batt created Idaho's WorkFORCE Development Council by Executive Order. Earlier that year, the Idaho Legislature signed HB 660 into law which established a “Training Fund” by shifting three percent of unemployment insurance contributions made by employers.

The council was assigned oversight of the fund by the governor. The Workforce Investment Act of 1997 specifies that employers pay for not less than 50 percent of the cost of customized training. Guess who picks up the other 50 percent? You, Mr. Taxpayer.

Now you know why big business lobbied so hard for this bill: It gets trained workers for half the cost. This is a blatant mandate that encumbers taxpayers with subsidizing private business in a manner that can be termed corporate welfare.

HR.1853 - “Carl D. Perkins Vocational and Applied Technology Education Amendments of 1998” was passed by the Senate under “unanimous consent” and in the House by voice vote and signed into law by President Clinton October 31, 1998.

This legislation deals with K-12 in-school vocational education. The Ashcroft amendment to prohibit use of funds for school-to-work activities was neutered in committee despite claims of the Home School Legal Defense Association to the contrary.

Thus, the two revised components of the original failed “Careers” bill are now law anyway.