BOX 3-1

Education Goals 2000

The 1989 Education Summit led to the adoption of six National Education Goals, later expanded to eight by Congress. Essentially, the goals state that by Year 2000:

  1. All children will start school ready to learn.

  2. The high school graduation rate will increase to at least 90%.

  3. All students will become competent in challenging subject matter.

  4. Teachers will have the knowledge and skills that they need.

  5. U.S. students will be first in the world in mathematics and science achievement.

  6. Every adult American will be literate.

  7. Schools will be safe, disciplined, and free of guns, drugs, and alcohol.

  8. Schools will promote parental involvement and participation.

SOURCE: Goals 2000—The Clinton Administration Education Program,

inequitable education at a time when there is even more need for a skilled workforce. Recent reports show that previous efforts have produced mixed results for the general populace and have had limited effectiveness in bridging the achievement gap for underrepresented minorities, the fastest growing segment of the U.S. population. In fact, the efforts have failed to address the special needs of underrepresented minorities in a fashion systematic enough to sustain the small gains made. The problem has been exacerbated by a surge in the nation’s Hispanic population due to substantial immigration since the 1990s that has filled many schools with large numbers of children who are not native speakers of English. Thus, as underrepresented minorities continue to be unprepared to matriculate successfully through the education trajectory, the United States continues to fall further behind other industrialized nations in academic achievement and degree production in science and engineering.


A range of indicators signal the need for us to reconsider the efficacy of national policies and investments in K-12 education. These are presented in the context of the demographic shifts in the American population and the potential impact of continuing the legacy of inequality in the educational system. There are systemic failures in the implementation of federal, state,

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