The Clinton Administration learned a big lesson from
the defeat of its plan to take over the entire U.S. health
care industry. Releasing its plan as a single 1,342-page
bill in 1993 gave conservatives a large target to hit at and
enabled them to identify at least a dozen fearsome
features against which Americans could rally.
When health plan author Ira Magaziner and other
Friends of Bill and Hillary developed a parallel plan to
take over the entire U.S. educational system, they used a
very different strategy. They dispersed its coercive
mandates among several federal statutes, bureaucratic
regulations, a strange relationship between the Departments of Education and Labor, state legislation (whose
authorship traces to a common source), and grant applications submitted by states seeking federal funding.
The master plan for the health industry was developed by what became known as the Jackson Hole group,
which met for several years at a private residence in
Wyoming, according to an expose in the New York Times
Magazine published after the Clinton plan was dead.
The master plan for the federal takeover of public
schools is contained in a remarkable 18-page "Dear
Hillary" letter written on November 11, 1992 by Marc
Tucker, president of the National Center on Education
and the Economy (NCEE). It lays out a plan "to remold
the entire American [education] system" into "a
seamless web that literally extends from cradle to
grave and is the same system for everyone," coordinated by "a system of labor market boards at the
local, state and federal levels" where curriculum and
"job matching" will be handled by counselors "accessing the integrated computer-based program."
Tucker's plan would change the mission of the public
schools from teaching children knowledge and skills to
training them to serve the global economy in jobs
selected by workforce boards. His letter confirms that his
plan is the result of meetings with leftwing gurus,
including Ira Magaziner, David Hornbeck, and Lauren
Resnick. NCEE has been able to milk the public treasuries of many states for millions of dollars to pay for
copies of his "reform" plan and "standards" for the
Nothing in these comprehensive plans has anything
to do with teaching schoolchildren how to read. Although most Americans think that is the number-one
task of schools, and it is obvious that the schools'
failure to do this is our biggest education problem,
teaching children how to read is not even one of the
eight national education goals in Goals 2000.
The implementation of Tucker's ambitious plan was
contained in three laws passed in 1994: the Goals 2000
Act, the School-to-Work Act, and the reauthorized
Elementary and Secondary Education Act. The final
piece in the Tucker plan to convert the school system
into job training to serve a managed workforce, which
was called "Careers" in the House version and
"Workforce Development" in the Senate version, didn't
pass in 1996 but will certainly be revised this year.
Specific mechanisms of control are an essential
part of the Tucker-Clinton-Magaziner plan to restructure
the public schools:
(1) Bypass all elected officials on school boards and
in state legislatures by making federal funds flow either
(a) to the Governor and his appointees on workforce
development boards (as projected in the Careers/Workforce Development bill), or (b) to a new
entity called a "consortium" of several district superintendents.
(2) Use a computer database, a.k.a. "a labor market
information system," into which school personnel will
scan all information about every schoolchild and his
family, identified by the child's social security number:
academic, medical, mental, psychological, behavioral,
and interrogations by counselors. The computerized
data will be available to the school, the government, and
(3) Use the new slogan "high standards" to cement
national control of tests, assessments, school honors and
rewards, financial aid, and the Certificate of Initial
Mastery (CIM), which is designed to replace the high
(4) Control the vocabulary of education, so that
many words have double meanings. Thus, when
parents hear the words "outcome-based" or
"performance-based," they think the outcomes must be
skills such as reading and the multiplication tables, but
the educators mean "accepting diversity" or "being
(5) Coopt the Governors and the CEOs of large
corporations to front for these "reforms" by promising
the former some control over the flow of federal funds
and the latter some free teenage labor. Once a Governor
or CEO signs on, all decisions are actually made by the
same education bureaucrats who gave us the problems in
the first place.
School-to-Work Will Train, Not Educate
The School-to-Work Opportunities Act (STW),
signed by President Clinton in 1994, is an attempt to use
federal mandates and funding to browbeat the public
schools into changing their mission. STW is being
implemented nationwide by STW state laws, federal and
state regulations, and the federal mandates that control
the granting of federal STW funds.
School-to-Work is the implementation of Marc
Tucker's "cradle to grave" plan outlined in his "Dear
Hillary" letter, and it is moving rapidly through the
schools. Tucker boasts that he has written the "restructuring" plans for more than 50% of public school children. Designed on the German system, it is a plan to
train children in specific jobs to serve the workforce and
the global economy instead of educate them so they can
make their own life choices.
The traditional function of education was to teach
basic knowledge and skills: reading, writing, math,
science, history, etc. School-to-Work deemphasizes or
eliminates academic work and substitutes mandated
vocational training to serve the workforce. Instead of the
focus being on developing the child, the focus is on
serving the labor force.
There's a big difference between educating a child
and training him to serve the workforce. According to
the dictionary, to educate means to develop the faculties
and powers of a person by teaching. Becoming skilled
at reading, writing and calculating is essential to developing as a student and as a person and being able to
fulfill the American dream. To train means to cause a
person or animal to be efficient in the performance of
tasks by responding to discipline, instruction, and
repeated practice. That's what you do to your dog.
That's what School-to-Work is: "performance-based"
training of students to move into predetermined jobs.
Those predetermined jobs will not be selected by the
student or his family. New bodies called workforce
development boards, appointed not elected, will determine what jobs are needed in the coming years. The
schools will then design the curriculum to meet these
governmentally determined workforce needs, and use
counselors and computers to do "job matching" of the
After you complete your vocational training, you will
get a Certificate of Initial Mastery (CIM) or Smart Card
-- not a high school diploma -- and you won't be able
to get a job unless you have one. This will function
much like the green card that must be presented by
resident aliens in order to get a job.
STW laws and regulations require vocational training
to start "at the earliest possible age, but beginning no
later than middle school grades." The federal STW
statute even says that "career awareness" should "begin
as early as the elementary grades." How many elementary or even middle school children do you know who
are capable of choosing their lifetime career? Obviously, these decisions will be made by the school, not
by the individual or his parents.
The goal is not to graduate highly-literate individuals but to turn out team workers to produce for the
global economy. In the STW scheme, individual grades
are inflated or detached from academic achievement,
individual honors and competition are eliminated or
deemphasized, and instead we have such "team" techniques as group grading, cooperative learning, peer
tutoring, horizontal enrichment, job shadowing,
mentoring, and job site visits. It is obvious that
Outcome-Based Education was preparation for the STW
system in which children are taught to be "team
workers" instead of achievers.
A computer profile will be inputed for every
student, and it will contain an awesome array of
personal and private family information. These data
will be available to the school, the government, and
prospective employers. That doesn't sound like a free
America! It sounds like George Orwell's 1984.
Vocational courses in high school for illiterate or
semi-literate students will train young Americans to
compete in the global economy with people in the third
world willing to work for 25 and 50 cents an hour.
That's why a lot of big businesses have entered into
partnerships with Governors and school districts to
promote School-to-Work. They think the schools will
do some of their job training for them.
But it's not the job of the taxpayers to do job
training; that's the job of the corporations that hire
them. It is the job of the schools to teach children to
read, write and calculate.
School-to-Work is a direct threat to the individual
student, his privacy, his goals, and his acquisition of an
education that can help him reach them. Furthermore,
a planned economy, with bureaucrats trying to predict
what jobs will be needed in the next five years and
training students for specific jobs, is a failure all over
the world. All those who value freedom must defeat
and defund School-to-Work.
Robert Reich, Ira Magaziner, and Marc Tucker are
the social engineers driving the School-to-Work concept. They dream of using the schools to implement
industrial policy, a.k.a. national economic planning,
following the German and East European models.
Robert Reich's and Ira Magaziner's 1982 book
entitled Minding America's Business bemoans America's "irrational and uncoordinated industrial policy"
and that we lack a single agency to monitor our domestic economy and adjust it to changes in the world
markets. They think we need an economic czar.
Robert Reich, in his 1983 book The Next American
Frontier, wrote enthusiastically about Germany and
Japan, where government-managed industrial policy
uses loans and subsidies to shift resources into favored
industries, and "induces" disfavored firms to exit from
the industry. He praised the high percentage of their
national economies that is poured into numerous, generous, tax-financed social benefits and "elaborate programs
of job training," which he claimed resulted in low
Marc Tucker, in his 1992 book Thinking for a Living,
expressed admiration for the Soviet bloc countries. He
wrote that they "have done a better job than we of
building human-resource development programs."
The alleged economic efficiency of the German and
Eastern bloc countries, so highly praised by Reich,
Magaziner and Tucker, is now on the rocks. Germany's
unemployment rate is 12% and the extravagances of the
welfare state are heading that nation into economic
School-to-Work is the "human-resource development" segment of the Reich-Magaziner-Tucker strategy
to inflict America with a national industrial policy
dictated by government economic czars. These elitists
have convinced themselves that they possess "extraordinary insights" to restructure our economy. But central
planning is a failure everywhere in the world!
What Are the Goals of Goals 2000?
The Goals 2000: Educate America Act, signed by
President Clinton in 1994, established eight national
education goals. But teaching children to read is not
one of the eight national education goals. When
Clinton talks about holding schools to "high standards,"
elementary school literacy is not one of those standards.
When even President Clinton has said that 40% of
3rd graders can't read, doesn't it strike you as downright
peculiar that teaching elementary school children to read
is not one of our eight national education goals? Are the
first and second years of school, at a cost of at least
$5,000 per child per year, just glorified baby-sitting?
Missouri Governor Mel Carnahan, who has been
enthusiastically implementing federal education plans,
capsuled this new approach when he said in his 1997
State of the State address, "Books are no longer the key
to success. It's the keyboard." This means that giving
children the skill to read the great books of Western
literature, history, politics, and science is not part of
Local control is out, too. President Clinton made a
speech on January 22 to a group identified by the White
House as "the students, parents and teachers of the
Northbrook Area Schools Consortium." His audience
was so friendly that it interrupted him with applause 29
times. One line in his speech, however, was greeted by
stony silence. That's when he said, "We can no longer
hide behind our love of local control of the schools."
That was a telltale admission that the real goal of the
Clinton Administration's education plan is to eliminate
local control of public schools. One of the vehicles of
this elimination is the new entity he was addressing that
day called a "consortium."
Twenty suburban Chicago school districts have been
surreptitiously combined to form what Clinton praised as
the First in the World Consortium. This Consortium has
already received $450,000 of federal Goals 2000 financing, and the contract gives total authority over future
financing and personnel decisions to the 20 superintendents who have constituted themselves as the board of
Completely excluded from the governing process
are the 20 elected school boards. One school board
member, Eva Sorock of Wilmette, had to file a Freedom
of Information request even to see the grant application
for the $450,000 already received. She discovered that
the superintendents had promised to implement "progressive methods" that parents have opposed for years,
including student-centered instruction, experiential
learning, group projects, integrated curricula, and
assessments rather than grades or tests.
Goals 2000 is part of a coordinated national plan
to impose federal mandates, bypass local control,
and eliminate accountability. Once a state accepts
Goals 2000 funding, it must implement Goals 2000's
national goals and objectives. Section 318 pretends to
prohibit federal control of curriculum, but that's just a
placebo, because the statute includes dozens of specific
mandates about curriculum, instructional materials,
standards, content, and assessments.
Section 306 repeatedly uses the mandatory word
"shall," and it's obvious that the verb means must.
Section 306 mandates that the state shall establish a
"state improvement plan," shall establish a strategy "for
meeting the National Education Goals," shall adopt
"state content standards and state student performance
standards for all students," shall implement state assessments "consistent with relevant, nationally recognized
professional and technical standards," shall provide
"coherent information about student attainments relative
to state content standards," and shall align "state and
local curricula, instructional materials, and state assessments with state content standards."
Last year, Congress passed some amendments to the
Goals 2000 Act, but Michael Cohen, adviser to Education Secretary Richard W. Riley, said, "There isn't
anything that undermines or in any way alters the
fundamental goals of the program." Even if a state
spends its Goals 2000 money on computers, it still must
comply with this federal law that uses the following
words scores of times: "shall," "will," "require," or
The Goals 2000 statute codifies the eight national
education goals. But the goals themselves are defective,
particularly the first goal, "By the year 2000, all children
in America will start school ready to learn." Many
schools are using this language to bring health clinics
and a wide array of social services into the public
schools, financed in devious ways through Medicaid.
This is one cause of the tremendous increase in Medicaid
costs, and it's part of the Administration's plan to bring
the rejected Clinton proposal for socialized medicine in
through the schoolhouse door.
The interlocking of Goals 2000 and School-to-Work
reconfirms that the federal plan is to bypass elected
school boards and state legislatures and put all authority
in the hands of those who control the stream of federal
funding. We must get the feds out of the classroom if we
value our freedom. We must defund School-to-Work
and Goals 2000.
The Clinton-Riley Initiatives
Secretary of Education Richard W. Riley presented
President Clinton's education initiatives to the House
Education and Workforce Committee on March 5. Let's
analyze his statement.
"Most of today's good jobs require more skills and
training than a high school diploma affords." But that's
not because jobs are more difficult; it's because public
school curriculum content has been dumbed down so
much that schools actually give high school diplomas to
teenagers who can't read them.
"Every child in America should be able to read well
and independently by the end of 3rd grade." No, every
child should be able to read by the end of the first
grade. If the goal is only to have children reading by the
end of the third grade, then the taxpayers are paying
$5,000+ per child per year for glorified baby-sitting in
the first and second grades.
"Both the President and I firmly oppose any form of
national control over schools and their curriculum."
That is proved false by President Clinton's January
22 speech to the Northbrook Area Schools Consortium, in which he said: "We can no longer hide behind
our love of local control of the schools."
"We will be proposing legislation that would help
recruit and train one million volunteer tutors who would
provide assistance after school, on weekends and during
the summer to students who are behind in reading in pre-kindergarten through 4th grade." As commentator
Stephen Chapman wrote, "This is like asking citizens
to pitch in at the Post Office so mail deliveries won't
take so long. It utterly misses the point."
"The bulk of the funds would go to broad-based local
partnerships." This makes it clear why the National
Education Association hasn't rebuked Clinton for the
insult to the teachers when the President said that he's
going to send a million volunteers to do the job that
teachers have failed to so. The big teachers' union is
swallowing the insult because Clinton's "America
Reads" initiative will set up a new bureaucracy called
"broad-based local partnerships" that will require more
It would be much more cost-efficient and parent-friendly if "America Reads" would simply offer a
$500 tax credit to the parents of any child who enters
the first grade already knowing how to read. What a
wonderful incentive to parents to become involved with
the education of their children! This would save so
much taxpayers' money because the schools wouldn't
waste the first three years in baby-sitting and then, after
stigmatizing the child as "learning disabled," pay for a
remedial reading bureaucracy.
"Results of the America Reads Challenge will be
measured by student performance on the National
Assessment of Education Progress' (NAEP) 4th grade
reading test." This means that the illiterate children
won't be discovered until the end of the 4th grade.
It is a national scandal that the wonderful window of
learning opportunity that six- and seven-year-olds have
will remain closed, and the schools won't face up to
their failure until the end of the 4th grade.
"We are asking for $620 million for the Safe and
Drug-Free Schools and Communities program . . . an
increase of nearly 12 percent." Riley wants more
money for one of the biggest boondoggles in the
federal budget. Billions of taxpayers' dollars have
been wasted on this program over the last several years.
But investigative studies by the General Accounting
Office and by private research organizations and academicians have repeatedly reported that there is no evidence that children who participate in these curricula are
less likely to do drugs than those who don't.
"Goals 2000 is all about high standards." False.
Goals 2000 is all about federal mandates, and any talk
about "standards" deserves a belly laugh. The Department of Education's idea of "standards" is best illustrated by the taxpayer-financed National Standards for
United States History, which were so false, biased and
anti-American that they were condemned by the U.S.
Senate in a vote of 99 to 1. However, the school
establishment stood behind them anyway, making only
a handful of cosmetic revisions. Now, these false
"standards" have been adopted by most schools and
(For an exposé of the original standards, see
"How the Liberals Are Rewriting History" in The Phyllis Schlafly Report,
March 1995. For an up-to-date account of the worthless changes and how
the falsehoods have entered school textbooks, see "The History Standards:
Still an Outrage" in The Weekly Standard, March 10, 1997. For an exposé
of the English standards, see Education Reporter, June 1996.)