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Does the "Repeal" of Goals 2000 Mean Anything?

December 11, 2001

The "No Child Left Behind"/HR1 federal education bill (the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act) is to be voted out of its conference committee today, December 11th, and possibly sent to the House floor within the next few days. The House and Senate are almost finished with their efforts to resolve the differences between each of their versions of this 1000 pages of rules and regulations that is supposed to enhance local control of education.

One of the ways Congress is trying to convince grassroots education activists that local control is being improved is by saying that Goals 2000 has been repealed in this legislation. The November 26th summary states: "The proposal would remove all references to Goals 2000, outcome-based education, School-to-Work, Workforce Investment Act, and higher order thinking skills."

This was restated firmly to me over the phone by a prominent education staffer and by House Education Committee staff in an email that said: "... states have to comply with '94 - having standards and assessments in place - but Goals 2000 does not have to be a part of this if states don't want it."

That phrase, "but Goals 2000 does not have to be a part of this if states don't want it" is the key to my title question.

Before I elaborate, let me explain a bit about Goals 2000. This legislation was passed in 1994 during the Clinton administration after it failed to pass during the first Bush administration in its first incarnation as America 2000.

Goals 2000 "created the partnership between government and education by mandating dumbed-down national education standards, a national curriculum, national test, and national teacher licensure." (From our previous update.)

HR6 (the last reauthorization of the ESEA) was passed at the same time as Goals 2000. It stated that the "voluntary" stipulations of Goals 2000 were mandatory if states wanted any federal education money. This put the federal government in control of curriculum and testing in all 50 states, a clear violation of the 10th Amendment of the US Constitution.

HR6 mandated a set of standards in each state that correlated to Goals 2000. The goals and standards were billed as academic in nature. In fact, they are indoctrination and entry level job skills training, tracking students into careers based on the needs of business -- all managed by federal bureaucrats.

HR6 required assessments (subjective evaluations of attitudes and behaviors, instead of tests that objectively measure academic knowledge) that are correlated with these so-called academic standards. These assessments are derived from the National Assessment of Education Progress (NAEP). In fact, many state assessments were written by the author of the NAEP, Ralph Tyler. Tyler said in the 1940s, "The real purpose of education is not to have the instructor perform certain activities, but to bring about significant changes in the students' patterns of behavior."

The NAEP will now be (thanks to the "No Child Left Behind" bill) the national assessment used to "validate" the state assessments.

Each state has spent millions of dollars establishing standards and assessments to comply with the federal mandates in order to receive the grant money from Goals 2000 and the Title I funds from the ESEA (HR6 and HR1).

For example, Minnesota received about $24 million from Goals 2000 and Title I funds which comprise only 6% of the state education budget. Yet the state has spent at least $500 million dollars of state money to comply with these federal laws. In other words, that 6% of the state education budget that is from Washington results in 80-90% of the regulations that states must follow.

In addition, each state has changed numerous, sometimes hundreds, of laws to comply with the federal rules and regulations in Goals 2000. Minnesota changed over 230 education laws to get its share of the federal bounty. The state has to continue to jump through numerous hoops and spend more money to receive Title I funds. Each state has received a letter from the federal Department of Education telling it what must be done to be in compliance with the mandates.

Also, when the Minnesota Legislature tried to give local districts flexibility on when and how many standards were to be implemented, the federal government threatened to withhold Title I funds.

According to the federal House Education Committee, "The federal government has to pay for development of the 3-8 [grade] assessments, even if states choose to completely throw out the old tests and start over. I think the fact that the feds will foot the bill - and pay the entire cost - will serve as a great incentive for states to redesign their assessments."

This sounds great, but it is doublespeak because the law requires that the assessments be aligned with the standards, and the federal government will not be paying for new standards!

So, what does this so-called repeal of Goals 2000 in HR1 really mean? Here is more of the House Education Committee's response to my question on whether Goals 2000 has really been repealed or if it was just in name only:

"The past framework of Goals and STW will exist if states don't choose to change it using the flexibility provided by the Schaffer language (can change standards without Department approval). Again, states have to comply with '94 - having standards and assessments in place - but Goals 2000 does not have to be a part of this if states don't want it."

No state, especially in this time of economic uncertainty, is going to spend millions more dollars to develop new standards and go back to their old laws, especially if they have repealed hundreds of them as Minnesota has. That leaves every state under "the past framework of Goals 2000 and STW"! We are being given the mirage of freedom with no freedom at all.

If you care about your children's future and freedom, you will call your congressman and both US Senators and relay your concern with this legislation. Miracles still happen.

Especially if your children are in public schools (but be wary in private schools as well), you must exempt them from any state assessment, the NAEP, survey, screening, mental health evaluation or counseling, or any physical examination done at school. The only safe way to do this is to file a parental informed consent notice with your school and with an attorney. (See a well written example.)

Regardless of where your child is in school now or in the future, this system must be stopped. Our freedom depends on it. Our freedom and our future as a constitutional republic depend on it.

One way to stop it is to elect a governor in your state that will not accept the federal money and the strings that go with it. It just takes one principled person who will defend our Constitution to put a crack in the dam of big government and to let liberty spill out.

(For more information on how HR1 continues Goals 2000, see our update.)

Karen R. Effrem, M.D.
Maple River Education Coalition Board of Directors


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