No Child Left Behind: Federal Goals 2005!
by Michael J. Chapman
Maple River Education Coalition, Board of Directors
December 24, 2001
For some time now, The Maple River Education Coalition has been warning
citizens that "No Child Left Behind" (President Bush's reauthorization
of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act) would force the Goals
2000 / School-to-Work system on every school in the nation. With few
exceptions, "conservative" legislators across the country refused to
believe us, citing such things as "sunset dates," and "repeal language."
We tried to explain that "repeal" simply means the scaffolding can come
down but the building would remain standing. In other words, Goals 2000
and School-to-Work has served its purpose; all that remains is to add an
enforcement mechanism to hold states accountable to sustain what is
Well, you no longer have to take our word for it. The Kennedy/Miller wing
of Bush's education tent is publicly singing the same song - too giddy to
wait until after the signing ceremony.
On Saturday, December 22nd, the L.A. Times (click here for copy of article)
reported the admission in an article entitled, appropriately,
"Enforcement Key in Overhauling Nation's Schools."
Representative George Miller, one of the key democratic members
of the committee that drafted the final bill, said it all: "You need to be
a tough cop on the beat to enforce what Congress says it wants states to
do." In the "past," said Miller, the federal government has "caved in
like a cheap suit." No longer!
According to the Times article, U.S. Secretary of Education Rod Paige
said "he would insist that states comply with the nearly 1,200-page
bill's expectations, even if it means withholding aid from states that
do not [comply.]" I find it interesting that "enforcement" seems to be
the only subject the pundits speak of when referring to the "new"
education plan, "No Child Left Behind."
Where exactly does the federal government want to take all these
children? Simply put: they are to be held accountable to Goals 2000 and
STW! That goal has not changed with this new administration. Eugene
Hickok Jr., the Undersecretary of Education, explains simply: "It falls
to us now.... Our goal is to create a change in the culture of education
which will now emphasize performance and results rather than just inputs."
The vocabulary of the new education and workforce system must always be
carefully tracked. Keep your handy glossary close. In the above
statement three common terms of the new education system are used, and
we provide their translations below.
"Performance" is the buzz-word for job-skills training of the 1994 School-
"Results-oriented" education is the term given Outcome-based Education
(OBE) within the 1994 Goals 2000 legislation. OBE is the attitudes, the
values, the belief system wrapped up into a federal education curriculum.
"Inputs" refer to old-fashioned teachers teaching academic, knowledge-
based curriculum - now admittedly a thing of the past.
The LA Times article states, "Similar sentiments were expressed in 1994,
the last time the federal government enacted education reform. Under that
law, states were supposed to develop ambitious expectations for students
and put in place tests to measure whether all students were meeting them."
What "education reform" was enacted in 1994? None other than Goals 2000
and School-to-Work. In other words, No Child Left Behind contains
"similar sentiments" and "ambitious expectations" as those expressed in
the federal 1994 Goals 2000 and STW federal Acts!
Secretary Paige laments, "So far, only 16 states have met all of that
bill's requirements, even though the deadlines have long since passed."
"So far" sounds like the secretary knows that all states must eventually
comply. And to what will they comply? THEY WILL COMPLY WITH THE
REQUIREMENTS SET BY LAWS WHOSE DEADLINES HAVE ALREADY PASSED!
Since "No Child Left Behind" hasn't been signed yet, he must be referring to Goals
2000, STW and the 1994 reauthorization, HR-6. HR-6 put the first Goals
2000 / STW enforcement mechanism in place, threatening the withdrawal
of all Title I money to schools and states that did not comply.
So, why are Miller, Kennedy, and Paige so confident this time? The LA
Times article continues: "But no state has been penalized for failing to
satisfy the earlier law's requirements..." No Child Left Behind changes
One big difference is the federal Workforce Investment Act (WIA), passed in
1998. The WIA requires a "unified plan" in every state that consolidates
all federal education and workforce programs and funding into an aligned
funding stream. Unlike in 1994, the WIA "unified plan" threatens ALL
federal education and workforce money if the state is non-compliant.
Ultimately poor children, the blind, disabled - all at-risk children - have
fewer choices. They will be held hostage to the "federal cops on the beat
enforcing what Congress says it wants states to do," as Representative
George Miller stated in the LA Times! Politicians will have a tougher time
saying "no" if it means cutting programs for the poor.
According to the Times article, Lindsey Kozberg, a spokeswoman for the
US Department of Education, explained that "the new law gives the
administration less leeway in how to enforce the bill." "Less leeway"
does NOT mean less power. It means the administration can no longer
grant waivers. The carrot of "voluntary" grant money (Goals 2000 and
STW) is now simply a stick. It's all very clear: All or Nothing! "MY
way; or the highway!"
Bottom Line: "No Child Left Behind" means just that! All MUST comply! The
new deadline for implementing the School-to-Work system and the Goals 2000
curriculum on every child in America is 2005. Call it: "Goals 2005 - and
this time we mean it!"
We at Maple River Education Coalition have been accused by some
Republicans of being on the wrong side of this issue because our liberal
Senators Wellstone and Dayton voted against Bush's bill. In fact eight
of ten of the Minnesota delegation voted against this bill (including
republicans), and one abstained. Regardless their motives, the fact is,
a vote against HR-1 was a right vote. Our critics ought to be more
concerned about President Bush catering to the Miller/Kennedy team.
As the Miller/Kennedy/Bush cops begin to tighten the noose in flagrant
violation of the 10th amendment to the United States Constitution, I hope
states will wake up and JUST SAY "NO" to the federal government's
extortion. Refuse the money and hold a bake sale instead. Teach students
to read and write and do arithmetic. Test them for academic knowledge
rather than assessing their demonstrated value based on federally
mandated attitudes and behaviors. Give teachers back their freedom to
teach! Let locally elected representatives (not appointed local
workforce boards) be in charge of local schools once again. Then "we the
people" can hold government accountable for their failures - the way it
was meant to be! Then, and only then, will education begin to improve.
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