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|NUMBER 245||THE NEWSPAPER OF EDUCATION RIGHTS||JUNE 2006|
|'Moscow Declaration' Adopted by G-8 |
Education Ministers Secretary Spellings Commits U.S.
The member states having convened annually since 1975 to discuss economic and political issues include Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom, and the United States. In 1997, the Russian Federation became an officially recognized member.
According to Russia's official news agency - the Information Telegraph Agency of Russia (ITAR-TASS) - Russia's Science and Education Minister Andrei Fursenko describes the declaration as:
"both a final document of the conference and the document that will be implemented by education ministers of all the world countries and international organizations, including the World Bank, UNESCO, and UN." (ITAR-TASS, 6-2-2006) The U.S. Department of Education said the member delegates "pledged to share best practices across borders" to build "education systems that can allow people . . . to live and contribute to a global society, and to work in a global economy," (U.S. Dept. of Education, 6-2-2006)
U.S. Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings remarked at the closing meeting session, "I strongly support Russian Education and Science Minister Fursenko's call to jointly issue the Moscow Declaration of the G-8 Education Ministers" and "This declaration is more than just words on paper they are words to live by and words to act on."
Decades-long existing United Nations and OECD lifelong education plans find support in the declaration's goal for continued development of "lifelong learning systems" spanning from "early childhood through adulthood" to strengthen links "between learning enterprise training and the labor market."
The declaration also cites:
In the U.S., many declaration objectives already receive attention through federal grants like those existing in the No Child Left Behind Act that encourage school reforms that align with prior and existing efforts to internationalize America's education system. (For background information on international school reform (a.k.a. UNESCO/OECD lifelong education/learning), see "Redefining Education for Global Citizenship," Education Reporter, March 2006)
A May 31, 2006 U.S. Dept. of Education press release claims: "This Memorandum of Understanding is the first of its kind between the U.S. Department of Education and the Ministry of Education and Science of the Russian Federation."
Included in previously adopted initiatives many of whose goals are similar to those found in the 2006 Moscow Declaration are those from UNESCO as well as the 1985 agreement with the USSR called "The General Agreement between the Government of the United States of America and the Government of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics [USSR] on contacts, exchanges and cooperation in scientific, technical, educational, cultural and other fields."
The General Agreement with then-communist USSR was signed Nov. 21, 1985 in Geneva, Switzerland. The document was signed by at-the-time U.S. Secretary of State George Shultz on behalf of the United States and the Soviet Foreign Minister Edward Shevardnadze.
Secretary Spellings has committed the U.S. to an agreement that continues the same old international school reform ideas, plus so-called innovations from an area of the world that has suffered a long history of social, economic, and political turmoil. As Mikhail Gorbachev, former president of the USSR, said in his May 2005 opening speech to the National School Board Association's Annual Conference, two-thirds of his fellow Russian countrymen are living in poverty today.
What can be expected from the Moscow Declaration? If the historical results of U.S. participation with international reforms continue in the same vein, it is not unreasonable to expect the whole of U.S. education from preschool, elementary, secondary, and higher education will encounter further upheaval and decline.