June 27, 2001

National School-to-Work Office to Close

Education Daily has reported that the national School-to-Work office will close up shop at the end of September as Congress has refused to reinstate its funding.

"For nearly a decade, home schoolers have been waging war against this dangerous program," said Caleb Kershner, acting director of the National Center for Home Education. "It is a time to rejoice. This program's threat of mandatory certificates* of mastery has been dealt a mighty blow."

The Bush Administration will determine a monitor for the $110 million in school-to-work (STW) grants yet to be awarded to the 25 participatory states. The administration will also select an agency to assist other states that choose to implement STW initiatives during the next five years.

Some federal officials assumed the office would be maintained to track the large amount of unspent money in the system. However, the office will officially close when the 1994 School-to-Work Opportunities Act sunsets on October 1.

It remains to be seen how state directors of STW programs will implement this transition. Just because the federal office is closing does not mean that STW will go away at the state level. Nevertheless, it will no longer play a significant role in our nation's educational system.

*Mandatory Certificates
A certificate of mastery is a state-issued certificate given to students who complete a set course of vocational instruction administered by the state. Concern has been expressed over the possibility that employers would require a certificate of mastery for employment. Home schoolers would be directly affected because they do not participate in state instruction.