On March 31, 1994 the Goals 2000: Educate America Act was signed into law by President Bill Clinton. The centerpiece of the legislation was eight audacious and insincere National Education Goals which were supposed to be met by the year 2000. The law (originally conceived of in 1989 by President George H.W. Bush and the nation’s governors) further expanded the power of the federal government over public education at the local level, laying the groundwork for future power grabs such as No Child Left Behind and Race To The Top.
The goals were as follows:
- All children in America will start school ready to learn.
- The high school graduation rate will increase to at least 90 percent.
- All students will leave grades 4, 8, and 12 having demonstrated competency over challenging subject matter including English, mathematics, science, foreign languages, civics and government, economics, the arts, history, and geography, and every school in America will ensure that all students learn to use their minds well, so they may be prepared for responsible citizenship, further learning, and productive employment in our nation’s modern economy.
- United States students will be first in the world in mathematics and science achievement.
- Every adult American will be literate and will possess the knowledge and skills necessary to compete in a global economy and exercise the rights and responsibilities of citizenship.
- Every school in the United States will be free of drugs, violence, and the unauthorized presence of firearms and alcohol and will offer a disciplined environment conducive to learning.
- The nation’s teaching force will have access to programs for the continued improvement of their professional skills and the opportunity to acquire the knowledge and skills needed to instruct and prepare all American students for the next century.
- Every school will promote partnerships that will increase parental involvement and participation in promoting the social, emotional, and academic growth of children.
Not a single goal was met. Some came up laughably short, if one thinks that the destruction of children’s lives is a joke. For example, instead of a 90 percent graduation rate in the year 2000, a decade later the graduation rate was only 70%. Instead of the United States being first in the world in mathematics and science achievement, we currently rank 25th in mathematics and 17th in science out of only 34 nations. Instead of every adult American being literate, 20% of high school seniors are functionally illiterate at the time the graduate. Finally, drugs and violence have not been eradicated from public schools, but instead infest them.
We need to stop looking to the central government to solve our problems. We need no more empty promises, mandates, or money with strings attached. The key to improving education in America is simple – take the government out of it. If government control and funding of education did not exist, parents would be less likely to view schooling as babysitting, and they’d be far more interested in what their children were learning. Cost-efficient, innovative alternative schools would sprout up throughout the nation, driving down the cost of schooling while drastically improving the quality of education. While politicians, school administrators and teachers unions generally oppose reforms that would increase the quality of education, each parent has the ability to improve education for their child. All they have to do is opt out of the system and homeschool.