Published Online: June 23, 2004
Published in Print: June 23, 2004, as Federal File

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Second Reading

The passage of two teacher education bills by the House of Representatives earlier this month will help to "ensure teacher-training programs produce well-prepared teachers to meet the needs of America’s students," according to Rep. Phil Gingrey, R-Ga., the author of one of the measures.

But Democrats say that the House passed identical legislation last year, and that acting on the latest bills was merely an election-year maneuver on the part of Republicans.

The earlier versions of the bills are pending in the Senate.

"You do not have to be a baseball fan to be familiar with those famous words of Yogi Berra, ‘It is like déjà vu all over again,’" Rep. Lynn Woolsey, D-Calif., said during floor debate on June 2. "Why are we back here on the House floor for a second time to consider bills to reauthorize teacher education and graduate education in the Higher Education Act?"

The first bill, the Teacher Training Enhancement Act, sponsored by Mr. Gingrey, would require colleges of education to report annually the percentages of their students who passed state certification or licensing tests.

The proposal also would authorize three grant programs. State grants would be used to bring teacher-preparation programs more in line with the No Child Left Behind Act. Partnership grants would bring higher education institutions and school districts together to train teachers, and teacher-recruitment grants would be used to bring more highly qualified individuals into teaching.

The second bill, called the Priorities for Graduate Studies Act and sponsored by another Georgia Republican, Rep. Max Burns, would target federal money for graduate courses to the areas of mathematics, science, and special education to help increase the supply of faculty members in those high-demand areas.

Both measures passed by voice vote on June 2.

Alexa Marrero, a spokeswoman for the Republicans on the House Education and the Workforce Committee, said that while the two bills are virtually identical to those passed last year, they serve "as a reminder that the House would like to see the Senate act on these bills so that the president has an opportunity to sign these important bills into law."

—Linda Jacobson

Vol. 23, Issue 41, Page 29

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