The Vocational Education Act of 1963 Explained

The Vocational Education Act of 1963 required all U.S. states to set up detailed plans and reports if they want to qualify for specific Federal education funds. These state reports must describe the existing processes, which planning initiatives were made and which problems the individual states had been encountering.

Commonalities and differences in all of the States’ education planning processes were identified and various development and implementation methods needed to be described. There were discussions regarding the origins of data that was going into the different State plans and the most important steps to write and review the States’ plan draft were traced.

Vocational Education Act of 1963

The Vocational Education Act of 1963 was implemented by one of America’s most prominent Presidents, John F. Kennedy, who had set up an advisory board for the evaluation of and make recommendations about existing vocational education programs in America.

The new Act replaced the Smith-Hughes Act and major changes were made in practically all relevant areas. The new Act reduced federal control and introduced the idea of Work-Study programs whereas it also implemented gender equity. The new Act was finally providing a federal definition of the term “Vocational Education” and funding was increased to $225 million.

Smith-Hughes was remaining in place until the 1963 Vocational Education Act was passed. The new Act changed Title II and III of the earlier George-Barden Act into permanent and broadened the vocational agriculture’s scope from just farming to all fields of agriculture. For the first time, now, funds were available for experimental programs and research and the home economics education’s scope was extended to include all fields of home economics, not only homemaking.

The Vocational Education Act of 1963 eliminated federal supervision and control of all available vocational programs across America. The new Act introduced periodic reviewing and evaluations of the programs at the local and state level, reducing federal control for a great part. Read more about Vocational Education here.

As said before, the new Act replaced the Smith-Hughes Act and made the following changes to the George-Barden and Smith-Hughes Acts. It allowed for transferring money between occupation categories, it broadened the definition of vocational agricultural education, it allowed for pre-employment training regarding distributive education, it removed vocational education requirements like the 9-months minimum and 50 percent of school time and provided for gainful employment education and training in home economics.

The Vocational Education Act of 1963 increased funding for American vocational education to $225 million, and states could from now on decide on how to spend the funds but they also had to submit rigorous plans for how they planned to use the funds. Categorical funding for specific and specified vocational areas such as agricultural vocational education was abandoned and the new Act expanded the agricultural education’s scope to include all sectors of agriculture. No longer, “supervised practice on a farm” was required and the new Act dropped the need for students to engage in “farming projects.” Now, educational programs like Graphic Design also became eligible for federal grants. Funding for vocational education was based on a state’s population in specific age categories and unds could also be used acquiring equipment or for the construction of school buildings.

Federal Definition

For the first time, the Federal Government came up with a definition of the term “Vocational Education.” The term relates to organized educational programs that have a direct relation to preparing individuals for unpaid or paid employment or preparing them for careers that require other than a baccalaureate or an advanced degree. Programs like those at Art Schools now were eligible for funds from the federal government as well, which had an enormous impact on the quality of this sort of educational programs.

The Vocational Education Act of 1963 also allowed for financial support for vocational; students in work-study programs. The Act required mandated collaboration between employment agencies and state vocational organizations and authorized federal funds for residential vocational schools and work-study programs. The Vocational Education Act emphasized the equality of opportunity for both sexes and the reduction of sex-related stereotyping in all occupational education facilities.

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