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Clinton Education Agenda Being Pushed in Minnesota

February 5, 2005

Senate Republicans refuse to sign on

Marc Tucker, the Executive Director of the National Center for Education and the Economy (NCEE), will conduct a private briefing for legislators-only on what is being billed as "transformational issues and trends affecting public education today." "Transformational education" is understood to mean what the McGraw Hill textbook website defines as existing for the purpose of "the transformation of society."

Less than twenty-one months after the Minnesota legislature overwhelmingly repealed the Profile of Learning, Marc Tucker a close Clinton ally and recognized architect of the federal education take-over (the Profile of Learning), is privately selling his curriculum to state legislators, beginning Feb. 9th. No media, no staff, and no public are allowed into three nights of private wining and dining by Tucker and his associates from the National Center for Education and the Economy.  

Marc Tucker is known for his infamous letter [this is a pdf link] to First Lady-elect Hillary Clinton after the 1992 presidential election in which Tucker wrote:

"We [will] have a national system of education in which curriculum, pedagogy, examinations and teacher education and licensure systems are all linked to the national standards [federal curriculum]..." [p. 3]

Tucker and his NCEE organization have been key players in the development and implementation of transformational education in our country, largely through his influence in the crafting of the Goals 2000 and School-to-Work legislation of 1994, his America's Choice curriculum, and his New Standards Project. Tucker's letter to Hillary Clinton proposed a plan which, Tucker explained, came from a meeting of key players he brought together. One of those participating in his planning meeting was Lauren Resnick, a partner in his New Standards Project, and another speaker at the private briefings to Minnesota legislators.

In his letter to Hillary, Tucker described his plan for transforming education this way:

"to propose concrete actions that the Clinton administration could take—between now and the inauguration, in the first 100 days and beyond... We took a very large leap forward in terms of how to advance the agenda on which you and we have all been working—a practical plan for putting all the major components of the system in place within four years, by the time Bill has to run again." [p. 1]

All this laid the foundation for Goals 2000, School-to-Work, and the radical national standards (federal curriculum) in civics, history, social studies, geography, and math. (See the book FedEd.)

Tucker's NCEE changes to "for-profit".
According to an article in Education Week, November 17, 2004, Tucker's star is fading under the Bush administration. Federal grants that were "once lavished on it" are harder to come by. As a result, last year, Tucker's NCEE reinvented itself as a for-profit company, with Tucker himself as the majority shareholder. The EdWeek article states:

"Like other nonprofit initiatives involved in comprehensive school reform, America’s Choice no longer can attract the large sums of money that foundations and the federal government once lavished on it for research and development. Instead, it sees its future tied to the delivery of services to help schools improve... That growing market niche for services has been richly supported by federal grants and by funding distributed by states. Some states have endorsed and steered districts toward specific improvement programs or lists of programs...Mississippi, for example, has a contract with America’s Choice..."

Tucker went on to explain to EdWeek that America's Choice needs new money to expand to serve thousands of schools, rather than hundreds. Tucker's group has used more than $100 million of foundation and federal grant money over the past 15 years to develop its curriculum and training materials. Now those resources "have largely dried up," Tucker stated.

How did Tucker get a private presentation to MN legislators?
St. Paul Superintendent Pat Harvey is a protégé and former employee of Marc Tucker. She has aggressively promoted America's Choice in St. Paul schools, and next week she keynotes Tucker's national conference on America's Choice in Orlando, Florida.  Harvey's office also played a key role in getting Tucker's group three private briefings with the legislators.

In a slick insider job, an employee from Pat Harvey's St. Paul School District headquarters approached DFL Senate Majority Leader Dean Johnson and Republican Speaker of the House Sviggum with a proposed letter to be sent out to all legislators signed by the legislative leaders, directing the legislators to attend three evening forums and receptions in February. Called "the Capital Forum Series 2005," the forums are sponsored by the Minneapolis Foundation, which also receives hundreds of thousands of dollars in government grant money ($390,000 in 2003).

The forums are about "transformational" education. As the letter to legislators stated, the forums are about "transformational issues and trends affecting public education today that may have significant impact on into the future." Transformational education is all about changing society, not about educating the student. (See McGraw Hill textbook website.)

The forums are also about changing Minnesota's laws and schools. The letter to legislators stated that the forums will "reflect on educational policies we can enact now that will affect long-term outcomes for Minnesota's children."  The first forum features Marc Tucker himself on Feb. 9th. On Feb. 16th and on Feb. 23rd, two other close Tucker associates are featured, one of them being Lauren Resnick (see above). In other words, Tucker is pushing his radical transformational agenda.

Senate Minority Leader Dick Day and Senate Republicans refuse to sign on.
Tucker maneuvered himself and his new NCEE into being personally promoted by Minnesota legislative leaders. Sen. Dean Johnson and Speaker Sviggum were quick to sign the letter, as was the House minority leader, Matt Entenza. Sen. Dick Day and the Republican Senate minority refused.

Julie M. Quist
EdWatch Director