By Phyllis Schlafly
Printed in the DAILY RECORD of MORRISTOWN: May 15, 1994
The same Congress that can’t be trusted to run a bank, restaurant or post office, whose most powerful member is on the verge of being indicted, wants to take over the U.S. school system and the entire health industry.
While the latter has received a good deal of publicity, the former is a stealth assault that has received almost no television, newspaper or cartoon coverage.
S.1523, the 700-page Elementary and Secondary Education Act, which is due to be voted on by the Senate this month, will do to education what the Clinton health bill will do to health care.
That means a federal grab for power, more bureaucratic control over private and local decisions, lower quality, higher taxes, and the implementation of a liberal social agenda that would never be adopted if Americans were allowed to make their own choices.
Under S.1513, the feds will acquire national control of curriculum and tests (called assessments). States will be required to adopt a curriculum and a series of tests that conform to the federal mandates laid down in the other education law, Goals 2000, which was recently signed by President Clinton.
S.1513 legislates the controversial system called Outcome-Based Education. Title II, Sec. 2132 states: “The term ‘outcome performance indicators’ means measures of specific outcomes that the state of local educational agencies identifies as assessing progress.”
Under S.1513, each state must adopt “content standards” and “performance standards” that specify what “all children are expected to know and be able to do,” and that describe three levels of performance: “proficient,” “advanced” and a “third bench mark” described as ‘Lower-performing.” The states must inform the feds in detail about how the children are “mastering” the material.
Don’t be under any illusion that this means higher academic standards. Cutting through the jargon, S.1513 will forbid schools to teach reading by phonics or arithmetic by drills such as the multiplication tables.
S.1513 would arrogantly write into federal law the utterly false statement that teaching children “basic skills” (“with emphasis on repetitive drills and practice”) “before engaging in more complex tasks” is a “disproven theory.”
S.1513 further demonstrates its animosity toward the basics by requiring that all states use “instructional strategies” that provide an “accelerated curriculum rather than remedial drill and practice.”
The dumbing down process, which is the essence of Outcome-Based Education, is further advanced by the provision that gives federal bonus funds to “Distinguished Schools,” which are defined as schools in which “all students” meet the designated “performance standards” for three consecutive years. It is obvious that “all” students cannot meet a designated performance standard unless that standard is very low.
S.1513 is a federal grab for power to regulate home-schoolers and private schools. It forces each state to describe and enforce standards based on tests (assessments) “for all children.”
The phrase “all children” is used repeatedly. It puts the squeeze on each state’s public school bureaucracy to regulate “all children” in order to receive its federal funding.
The Senate should reject S.1513. The senate can very easily continue the appropriations in the Elementary and Secondary Education Act.
Phyllis Schlafly is an American constitutional lawyer, author, and founder of the Eagle Forum.