President Clinton has been bragging that the current
budget deal, agreed to by the Republican Congress
headed by Newt Gingrich and Trent Lott, includes the
largest increase in federal spending on public schools in
30 years and the largest increase in federal spending on
colleges in 50 years. The era of Big Government is
certainly not over! Federal spending on education is not
merely a waste of taxpayers' money; it does not merely
finance a bloated bureaucracy. Federal spending on
education is downright dangerous because it means
federal control over the minds and futures of American
One example of this expanded control can be seen in
the Employment, Training and Literacy Enhancement
Act of 1997, H.R. 1385, passed by the House on April
30 with only 60 Representatives voting No. It is a
reincarnation of last year's failed bill, which had been
largely written by Ted Kennedy's staff. (See The Phyllis
Schlafly Report, Oct. 1996, p. 3)
H.R. 1385 is part of a curious effort to combine the
funding and functions of the Departments of Education
and Labor. It reflects a philosophy that the schools'
mission is to serve the needs of the workforce, instead of
to educate children. The plan has been extensively
described by Marc Tucker and his National Center on
Education and the Economy, whose letterhead boasts
Hillary Rodham Clinton, Ira Magaziner and David
Rockefeller Jr. Why a Republican Congress would want
to give any control of public school curriculum, or of
federal education funds, to Labor Secretaries Robert
Reich or Alexis Herman is a mystery.
H.R. 1385 would establish Local Workforce
Development Boards composed of a "majority" of
businessmen plus token representatives of schools,
colleges and community organizations. These unelected
boards, controlled by the Governor under federal regulations, would be the gatekeepers for the School-to-Work
system authorized by the 1994 federal law of that name.
Each Local Workforce Development Board would
submit to the Governor "a comprehensive 3-year strategic local plan" to identify local industries, job seekers,
workers, training delivery systems,
and "the roles of individual employment." The Board would provide
"a description of the steps the local
board will take to work with local
educational agencies [i.e., public
schools] . . . to address local employment, education, and
Spending "such sums as necessary," these Local
Workforce Development Boards are authorized to decide
which training programs will qualify as "full service
eligible providers," and link training services to
"occupations for which there is a demand in the local
workforce development area." The notion that a
government board can determine what jobs will be in
demand in the future is the dangerous illusion of Robert
Reich and others in the Clinton Administration who
admire countries where economic czars control national
H.R. 1385 would finance computer inputing of
students' personal data through the Labor Market
Information Programs. H.R. 1385 would give the
Secretary of Labor powers to coordinate and develop "a
nationwide system of labor exchange services for the
general public, provided as part of the full service
employment and training delivery systems of the States."
H.R. 1385 would establish a National Institute for
Literacy to "coordinate literacy services" under "an
interagency agreement entered into by the Secretary of
Education with the Secretary of Labor and the Secretary
of Health and Human Services." The Federal
Government is already financing dozens of "literacy"
projects, all of them failures. As Clinton admits, 40% of
third graders can't read.
While H.R. 1385 is being marketed as "job training,"
it proposes to spend a lot of money "to make sustainable
changes in a family." That sounds more like parent
training than job training.
H.R. 1385 would create a new type of corporate
welfare: taxpayer dollars for "skills upgrading" for those
already employed. This probably explains why so many
businessmen think "workforce development" is a neat
idea, but there is no indication that the taxpayers are
eager to assume employers' costs of training workers for
The unions aren't objecting to this cozy relationship
with business because H.R. 1385 would also hand out
tax dollars to labor unions for "research and demonstration projects." Goodies for everyone are designed to buy
off all organized groups while the feds move us toward
a nationally planned economy.
Youths deemed disadvantaged would be given
"employment opportunities that are directly linked to
academic, occupational, and work based learning opportunities." This would leverage job placement right into
the schools, under the guidance of the Workforce
It's bad enough that H.R. 1385 would reauthorize
billions of dollars for job training programs that the
General Accounting Office has branded a failure. But
it's downright ominous the way this bill centralizes
power over education in the federal Departments of
Labor and Education, the Governors and their appointees, thereby bypassing elected school boards and state
Before another dime is appropriated, Congress has
an obligation to find out why Title I (formerly known as
Chapter 1), the largest federal K-12 education program,
has failed. The final report of a five-year, $29-million
longitudinal study of 40,000 students shows that this
remedial program has not closed the learning gap
between low-achieving students and their classmates.
The gap actually increased slightly, despite the fact that
taxpayers are pouring $7.2 billion per year down the
Title I drain. The Department of Education's response
to this report is to announce that it will no longer track
From 1963 to 1993, federal spending on education
increased from about $900,000 to more than
$10,000,000,000, while scores on Scholastic Aptitude
Tests (SATs) dropped almost 60 points. More federal
spending is certainly not the solution to our education
K-III Buys a Captive Audience
When people watch television, they certainly are at
liberty to channel-surf during the commercials or to use
that time to get refreshments or go to the bathroom.
How would you feel if the government mandated that
you must watch every commercial? That would be a
huge cash windfall to the advertisers, and it wouldn't
sound like America. But that's what's going on in the
public schools every day with Channel One.
Some 8,100,000 schoolchildren (nearly 40 percent of
all 11 to 18 year olds) are required by their school
officials to watch at least two minutes a day of television
commercials on the daily program called Channel One.
This gives the advertisers a daily guaranteed teen audience equal to the audience of the Super Bowl, and the
commercials are priced like ads on primetime networks
(about $200,000 per 30 seconds).
Channel One is a 12-minute TV program (including
two minutes of commercials) that the students of 12,000
middle schools and high schools are compelled to watch
under the terms of a deal their schools have made with
K-III Communications. The schools are bribed with the
loan of a TV for every classroom, two VCRs, and a
satellite dish so that the program can be beamed directly
to the classrooms.
The Channel One corporation has total control over
the content of the programs; the program cannot be
halted once it starts, and it cannot be edited. Teachers
and parents have no practical way to view the program
before the students see it.
In peddling the two minutes of commercials to
corporate advertising departments, K-III boasts: "Channel One is viewed by more teens than any other program
on television. Channel One's audience exceeds the
combined number of teens watching anything on television during Primetime. Huge ratings. Unsurpassed
reach. Unparalleled impact among teen viewers."
It isn't only the tobacco companies that know the
business value of advertising to teens. One marketing
manual advises advertisers: "When a young person is
between 13 and 18 years old, you have the chance of a
lifetime to transform a fickle consumer into a loyal
customer. . . . You can efficiently influence attitudes,
and build brand loyalties."
The problem is not only that Channel One is a
marketing tool to exploit a captive audience of children,
but what the ads are selling. The commercials sell junk
foods, soft drinks, video games, $150 Reebok athletic
shoes, and vulgar and offensive PG-13 movies, magazines, and primetime TV sitcoms. Channel One has
aired commercials for "Down Periscope" (which Entertainment Weekly called "vulgar" because of its stream of
obscenities and blasphemies), "The Quest" (which
contains a series of brutal acts of violence), and the TV
show "Unhappily Ever After" (which some say is the
crudest show on network television, with graphic sexual
references, gutter talk, and disrespect for parents).
Channel One boasts that its commercials can send
children to see any movie Hollywood will pay to advertise, and Channel One advertises PG-13 movies to pre-teens in middle school. Channel One ran a 30-second
"See It and Win" commercial for a PG-13 movie, and
500,000 children phoned the next week and entered the
Channel One has recently been urging schoolchildren
to use Internet chat rooms, where they can send anonymous messages to other users from around the world.
FBI Director Louis Freeh has expressed his concern
about chat rooms because they "provide pedophiles an
anonymous means of establishing relationships with
Channel One was sharply criticized this year in two
separate studies. One was conducted by sociologist
professor William Hoynes of Vassar College, the other
by media expert Mark Crispin Miller of Johns Hopkins
University. Hoynes and Miller analyzed 36 programs
that aired in 1995 and 1996, which contained a total of
91 news stories and 177 on-camera sources. Hoynes
reported that, contrary to Channel One's promise that 10
minutes of the 12-minute program would be devoted to
news, actually only 20 percent of the airtime is devoted
to coverage of recent "political, economic, social and
cultural stories." The rest of the time is filled with ads,
a news quiz, promotional activities, weather, sports,
Hollywood gossip, music and banter.
The research revealed that Channel One's "real
function is not journalistic but commercial. The news is
meant to get us ready for the ad. It must keep itself from
saying anything too powerful or even interesting, must
never cut too deep or raise any really troubling questions,
because it cannot ever be permitted to detract in any way
from the commercials."
Most education organizations are opposed to Channel One, including the National Association of Elementary School Principals, the National Association of
Secondary School Principals, the National Association of
State Boards of Education, and the National PTA.
The time devoted to Channel One adds up to six days
of instruction a year lost to schoolchildren. It's time to
call a halt to this exploitation of a captive audience.
The Smoking Gun in Medicaid
Most Americans think that Medicaid is just fulfilling
its original purpose of providing health care to people on
welfare. They should think again. Medicaid costs more
than $100 billion a year and is rising far more rapidly
than inflation, demographics, or poverty can justify.
The smoking gun, which proves why this dramatic
increase is taking place, has surfaced in an amazing letter
sent by the Illinois State Board of Education to school
district superintendents. Signed by the Board's
"Medicaid Consultant," this letter describes in detail how
public schools can exploit Medicaid in order to funnel a
fresh flow of taxpayers' money into public schools that
bypasses all traditional funding sources and accountability.
The letter's enthusiasm for spending this new money
on virtually anything the bureaucracy desires is matched
only by its arrogance in explaining the deviousness of
acquiring it. Stating that "the potential for the dollars is
limitless," the letter boasts that "Medicaid dollars have
been used for purchases ranging from audiometers to
mini-buses, from a closed captioned TV for a classroom
to an entire computer system, from contracting with
substitutes to employment of new special education staff,
from expanding existing special education programs to
implementing totally new programs."
This Illinois State Board of Education letter "encourages" local public schools to use the experienced State
School Board staff in order to "maximize federal reimbursement" of Medicaid dollars and use the "opportunity" to bill Medicaid for money already spent in 1994,
'95 and '96. The letter describes two ways that public
schools "have found Medicaid to be a viable funding
The first initiative provides Medicaid funding
through school-based health services. Schools may bill
Medicaid not just for therapies, but also for "social work
and psychological services, nursing and audiological
services, hearing/vision screenings, and transportation."
The second initiative allows all schools to claim
Medicaid dollars for Early and Periodic Screening,
Diagnosis and Treatment. The letter states that such
services include "public awareness [i.e., government
propaganda], identification and referral [i.e., putting
private medical information on a government computer],
initial health review and evaluation [i.e., such as the
shocking, unauthorized genital exams given without
parental consent to 59 sixth-grade girls in East
Stroudsburg, PA], health provider networking [with
Planned Parenthood?], and family planning referral [to
abortion clinics without parental consent?]."
In fiscal year 1996, $31,700,000 in federal funds
were paid to Illinois schools for the first initiative and
$40,800,000 for the second.
Medicaid was set up to cover only people on
some form of welfare: either Aid to Families with
Dependent Children (AFDC) or Supplemental Security
Income (SSI). Medicaid is a federal-state matching
program, at a ratio of about 60-40.
In 1986, Congress inserted into the law permission
for the states to expand Medicaid to cover children in
families whose incomes were below the poverty line,
whether their parents took welfare or not. That expansion slipped by without the taxpayers discovering it, so
in 1990 Congress required states to provide Medicaid
coverage to all poor children by the year 2002, and
allowed states to extend Medicaid even further to the
This is one reason why Medicaid costs are going
through the roof. In 1986, Medicaid cost about $27
billion. This year, Medicaid will cost about $105 billion.
By 2002, when the mandate is in full swing, Medicaid
will cost at least $133 billion.
Many people were puzzled when Bill Clinton bragged during last fall's campaign that "he" had provided
health care for an additional million children. Medicaid
is how he did it. No way have Hillary Rodham Clinton,
Ted Kennedy and Ira Magaziner abandoned their goal of
forcing America to adopt federal health care; they are
just bringing it in through the schoolhouse door. When
health care is provided by and in the public schools,
there is no separating welfare kids from the others. They
are all eligible.
The Illinois State Board of Education letter, signed
by Jean Rowe, Medicaid Consultant, was dated October
8, 1996, but was not made public and has been discovered only recently. The copy that came into my hands
was addressed to the Barrington, Illinois district, which
is one of the wealthiest districts in the United States and
proves that Medicaid is no longer a program for the
"poor," but is the vehicle to saddle us with the federal
medical system that the American people have rejected.
The Medicalization of the Schools
Indonesians aren't the only billionaires covertly
spending big bucks to influence public policy. There is
just as big a scandal brewing about private foundations.
Unbeknownst to the American public, several billionaire
foundations whose "charity" purports to be "children"
and "health care" are using their lavish resources to
lobby state legislatures and school districts to persuade
them to adopt policies and appropriate taxpayers' money
that promote the foundations' social agenda.
The foundations' game plan is to turn the public
schools into delivery centers for all kinds of health
services, including physical examinations, treatment and
medication of children, with or without their parents'
knowledge or consent. This changeover of the schools'
mission from academic learning to social services
dispenser also includes compiling all sorts of private
information on schoolchildren and their families.
The role of certain elite foundations in influencing
U.S. health care policy first came to light when the
lawsuit by the Association of American Physicians and
Surgeons (AAPS) against Hillary Rodham Clinton forced
her to admit that her Health Care Task Force included
people who were not government employees. Many
turned out to be persons who had a financial interest in
promoting managed care or were part of a previously
unreported network of foundations that had been using
their vast wealth to promote managed care.
If the Clinton health care bill had passed, these
managed care special interests would have been in the
drivers' seat to control one-seventh of our economy.
They failed to achieve that goal, but they are on the way
toward achieving the same goal incrementally.
Their game plan is to persuade state legislatures
and school districts to accept "grants" with strings
attached that bind the governmental recipients to pass
laws, or adopt policies, or reveal information, or carry
out procedures that implement the foundations' agenda.
If an Indonesian or U.S. corporation were doing this,
such transactions would be called bribes and the guilty
would be headed for jail, but foundations are hiding
behind the label "tax-exempt."
The engine driving the movement to use the public
schools as a launching pad for a government-controlled
health care system is the $5.5 billion Robert Wood
Johnson Foundation. Following close behind are the
Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation, the Annie E. Casey
Foundation, the Rockefeller Foundation, and the Pew
The principal expertise of these foundations is
developing creative ways to locate and lock in taxpayer
funding for foundation projects. The foundations have
successfully captured federal grants from the Medicaid
benefit called Early and Periodic Screening, Diagnosis
and Treatment (EPSDT), Medicaid waivers, the Maternal and Child Health Bureau, Goals 2000, and the
Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA).
Goals 2000, whose number-one-proclaimed goal is
"every child should start school ready to learn," provides
the fig leaf of legal authority for this array of federal
intervention in public schools. The foundations are
making the states and school districts believe that federal
mandates in Goals 2000 and IDEA require the schools to
test children for emotional, social, mental and physical
The foundations are persuading the schools that
"readiness" requires the schools to provide health
services clinics, which then must be staffed by nurse
practitioners emboldened with new authority to prescribe
medications. The foundations then demand a perpetual,
exclusive license to use, and to allow others to use, all
data generated by the services. So much for medical
The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation started
funding school-based health clinics 20 years ago and
now boasts that there are more than 600. Foundation
documents state the expectation that "every grant dollar
is expected to leverage five dollars in public monies."
These covert foundation activities operate in a murky
area without legislative authority or accountability. They
cry out for a thorough Congressional investigation of
possible violations of the laws against tax-exempt
lobbying, against bribery of public officials, against fraud
in Medicaid (which is supposed to be only for children
in poverty), and against violations of the privacy laws
that forbid releasing personal data or transferring it from
one agency to another.
The investigation should also explore the battery
committed against 59 sixth-grade girls at the J.T. Lambert Middle School in East Stroudsburg, PA, who were
taken out of math class and given pelvic exams without
their parents' consent. The investigators should expose
how profit-making businesses connected with tax-exempt foundations are using school clinics as captive
markets for the sale of their commercial products.
Foundations dole out about $100 million each year to
state and local governments and school districts. Since
this is all tax-exempt money, and since the recipients are
taxpayer-paid bureaucrats, and since the targets of all this
money flow is our children, the American people have
the right to know what is going on.
Phyllis Schlafly has her B.A. from Washington University, her
M.A. from Harvard University, her J.D. from Washington University Law School, and an honorary LL.D. from Niagara University.
Mrs. Schlafly taught her six children to read before they entered
school, and all had outstanding academic careers. Her most recent
book, First Reader, is a system to teach children how to read. Her
best-selling book, Child Abuse in the Classroom, was called
"required reading for every parent" by Hoover Institution scholar
Thomas Sowell. Her nationally syndicated daily radio commentaries
and Saturday call-in radio programs are devoted primarily to
education topics. Her best-selling video documentary, Crisis in the
Classroom, is an up-to-date explanation of why the public schools
are the way they are.
To order, call 1-800-700-5228.