NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Goals 2000 Seeks Federal Control

May 1, 1996

The philosophy underlying the 1994 "Goals 2000: Educate America Act" is that quality in education requires planning and coordination by state and federal governments.

However, the act actually establishes a "national school board" consisting of the National Education Standards and Improvement Council and six other federal bureaucracies, the National Education Goals Panel, National Skills Standards Board, National Educational Research Policy and Priorities Board, National Library of Education, National Occupational Information Coordination Committee and National Education Dissemination System.

Rather than enhancing education, critics suggest, it is an attempt to centralize control over education at the federal level.

  • Although the national standards these agencies would establish for curriculum, testing and teaching skills are voluntary, as with other federal programs states could later be coerced by the threat of withholding federal funds.
  • States must adopt federal educational goals in order to receive funding under the act.
  • Achieving the goals will require expanded federal control, including certification of institutions and control over such things as teacher salaries and curriculum.
  • The U.S. Department of Education is in charge of developing model education programs for the states.
  • Noncompliance with "voluntary" Goals 2000s directives could lead to litigation against states and local school districts.

Some states have already dropped out of Goals 2000 or refused funding because of the strings attached to funding and participation. They include Montana, Alabama, California, Virginia and New Hampshire.

Source: Sheldon Richman, "Why South Carolina Should Drop Out of Goals 2000," March 1996, South Carolina Policy Council Education Foundation, 1419 Pendleton Street, Columbia, SC 29201, (803) 779-5022.


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