From the ERIC database
The National Education Goals: Questions and Answers. ERIC Digest.
American citizens agree that the time has come to improve our schools and support the nation's leaders in their call for sweeping education reforms. Goals have been stated, objectives written, and a plan developed (AMERICA 2000) for fundamental changes in the American educational system. The public, however, raises legitimate questions concerning the purpose and attainment of these goals. This Digest addresses questions the general public may have about the six national goals and the President's plan for educational reform.
QUESTION 1: WHAT ARE THE SIX NATIONAL GOALS FOR EDUCATION?
Briefly stated, the education goals are: (1) that by the year 2000, all children will start school ready to learn; (2) that 90 per cent of high school students will graduate; (3) that students will be competent in basic subjects and exhibit responsible citizenship; (4) that U.S. students will lead the world in mathematics and science; (5) that every American adult will be literate; and (6) that schools will be drug-free and safe (Executive Office of the President, 1990).
QUESTION 2: ARE THE GOALS ATTAINABLE?
The most recent Gallup Poll of 1,594 adults (Elam, 1990) shows widespread support for the goals. The goals with the highest approval (88%) were the call for children to be ready to start school and for children leaving grades 4, 8, and 12 to demonstrate competency in basic subject areas. Poll respondents indicated that the school readiness goal may be the most attainable.
QUESTION 3: WHICH GOAL IS THE MOST IMPORTANT FOR THE
GENERAL PUBLIC TO IMPLEMENT?
QUESTION 4: HOW DOES SCHOOL CHOICE FIT IN WITH THE NATIONAL
GOALS TO IMPROVE AMERICAN EDUCATION?
QUESTION 5: WILL THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT PUT MORE MONEY
INTO EDUCATION TO FUND THE SIX NATIONAL GOALS?
QUESTION 6: DOES THE PLAN FOR EDUCATION IMPROVEMENT
INVOLVE NATIONAL TESTING?
QUESTION 7: DOES THE NEW EDUCATION PLAN ADDRESS THE
QUALITY OF TEACHERS?
QUESTION 8: WHAT ROLE WILL COMMUNITIES TAKE IN THE
PROPOSED EDUCATION REFORMS?
QUESTION 9: HOW CAN AMERICA BE NUMBER ONE IN MATH
AND SCIENCE BY THE YEAR 2000?
It is alarming that Americans' scientific literacy has decreased as our world has become more scientific and technological. In the last decade, improvement initiatives have been developed, but the country needs to go much further in these efforts. One initiative has been developed by the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) to help reform science, mathematics, and technology education in the United States by addressing such questions as: What is the nature of scientific knowledge and skills? How can scientific literacy be achieved across the nation? Knowledge about science and math concepts should begin early and continue throughout each individual's lifespan in order for Americans to be both knowledgeable and competitive in the technological arena.
QUESTION 10: HOW CAN COMMUNITIES STRESS CITIZENSHIP?
According to a recent survey, the youth of America are apathetic about civic values and responsibilities (National Assessment of Education Progress, 1990). Families and schools must influence youth to take an active part in their communities by stressing civic values and activities. The best way to teach the young is through serving as role models: adults need to gather information and discuss issues, to vote, to volunteer to help others, and to encourage their children to do the same.
The six national goals and the education strategies springing from these goals will have a great impact on schools and schooling in the next decade.
The solvable problems in education are those deemed important by the general public. Thus, all able and concerned Americans should examine the six national goals and exert influence and energy in areas in which they can effect change. It is only through such a collaborative effort that excellence in education can be achieved.
Executive Office of the President (1990). National Goals for Education. Washington, D.C. ED 319 143.
Henderson, A. (1987). The evidence continues to grow: Parental involvement improves student achievement. National Committee for Citizens in Education. ED 315 199.
National Assessment of Education Progress (1990). The civics report card. Princeton, NJ: Educational Testing Service. ED 315 376.
National Center for Education Statistics, U.S. Department of Education (1989). Digest of education statistics: 1989.
Peterson, D. (1989). Parent involvement in the educational process. ERIC Clearinghouse on Educational Management. ED 312 776.
U.S. Department of Education (1991). AMERICA 2000: An education strategy sourcebook. Washington, DC
Title: The National Education Goals: Questions and Answers. ERIC Digest.
Descriptors: * Community Support; * Educational Change; * Educational Improvement; * Educational Objectives; Elementary Secondary Education; Excellence in Education; * School Restructuring
Identifiers: America 2000; ERIC Digests; *National Education Goals 1990
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