January 4, 2002

Congress Finally Yanks Goals 2000 Spending

For home schoolers and others who are concerned about preserving America's educational freedom, the federal government's Goals 2000 program has been like a bad toothache that continues to throb until the tooth is removed. Although Congress has previously chiseled away at Goals 2000 by discontinuing large portions, only last month did it give the final wrench to extract this painful nuisance. Just before leaving town on December 21, Congress passed the Fiscal Year 2002 Education Appropriations Conference Committee report that will eliminate spending on Goals 2000.

Originally, the Senate Appropriations granted $2 million to Goals 2000 despite the specific instructions of the No Child Left Behind Act to zero-fund the program. Thankfully, the House's Appropriations version prevailed, and the FY 2002 Education Appropriations bill gave a mere $400,000 to the Goals 2000 program, just enough to shut down operations.

Goals 2000 began in the early 1990s as a program intended to boost academic achievement nationwide by setting eight goals for our nation's schools to pursue. Although it did not affect home schoolers directly, it did, like all other federal education programs, set in motion dangerous trends by creating mandates and dictating how schools should pursue their education plans. This centralized, unconstitutional approach to education has failed-America's public school students continue to fall behind other advanced nations in reading and math.

Home School Legal Defense Association is pleased with Congress' choice to eliminate Goals 2000. While the exact final funding amount was in limbo during conference committee, HSLDA and other pro-family organizations weighed in with key congressional decision-makers, including a personal visit with Education and Workforce Committee Chairman John Beohner (R-OH), asking him to stop the Senate's funding proposal.

"This is victory long awaited," said HSLDA Manager of Federal Policy and Research Caleb Kershner. "I am hopeful that this program has breathed its last."