The Clinton Administration learned a big lesson from the defeat of
its plan to take over the entire U.S. health care industry. Releasing
its plan as a single 1,342-page bill in 1993 gave conservatives a large
target to hit at and enabled them to identify at least a dozen fearsome
features against which Americans could rally.
When health plan author Ira Magaziner and other Friends of Bill
and Hillary developed a parallel plan to take over the entire U.S.
educational system, they used a very different strategy. They
dispersed its coercive mandates among several federal statutes,
bureaucratic regulations, a strange relationship between the
Departments of Education and Labor, state legislation (whose authorship
traces to a common source), and grant applications submitted by states
seeking federal funding.
The master plan for the health industry was developed by what
became known as the Jackson Hole group, which met for several years at
a private residence in Wyoming, according to an expose in the New York
Times Magazine published after the Clinton plan was dead. The master
plan for the federal takeover of public schools is contained in a
remarkable 18-page "Dear Hillary" letter written on November 11, 1992
by Marc Tucker, president of the National Center on Education and the
Economy, an organization that has been able to milk the public
treasuries of many states for millions of dollars to pay for copies of
his plan to "restructure" and set "standards" for public schools.
Tucker's letter confirms that his plan is the result of meetings
with other leftwing gurus, including Ira Magaziner, David Hornbeck, and
Lauren Resnick. It lays out a plan, modeled on the German system, "to
remold the entire American [public school] system" into "a seamless
web that literally extends from cradle to grave and is the same system
for everyone," coordinated by "a system of labor market boards at the
local, state and federal levels" where curriculum and "job matching"
will be handled by counselors "accessing the integrated computer-based
The Tucker-Clinton plan would change the mission of the public
schools from teaching children knowledge and skills to training them to
serve the global economy in jobs selected by workforce boards.
Nothing in these comprehensive plans has anything to do with
teaching schoolchildren how to read. Although most Americans think
that is the number-one task of schools, and it is obvious that the
schools' failure to do this is our biggest education problem, teaching
children how to read is not on the radar screen of these plans and is
not even one of the eight national education goals in Goals 2000.
The implementation of Tucker's ambitious plan was contained in
three laws passed in 1994: the Goals 2000 Act, the School-to-Work Act,
and the reauthorized Elementary and Secondary Education Act. The final
piece in the Tucker plan to convert the school system into job training
to serve a managed workforce, which was called "Careers" in the House
version and "Workforce Development" in the Senate version, didn't
pass in 1996 but will certainly be revised this year.
The Tucker-Clinton-Magaziner plan to restructure the public
schools is based on specific mechanisms of control.
- Bypass all elected officials on school boards and in state legislatures, either by
making federal funds flow to a new entity called a "consortium" of
several district superintendents (the device revealed in Clinton's
January 22 speech in Northbrook, IL), or to the Governor and his
appointees on workforce development boards (as projected in the
Careers/Workforce Development bill).
- Use a computer database, a.k.a. "a labor market information
system," into which school personnel would scan all information about
every schoolchild and his family, identified by the child's social
security number: academic, medical, mental, psychological, behavioral,
and interrogations by counselors. The computerized data would be
available to the school, the government, and future employers.
- Use the new slogan "high standards" to cement national
control of tests, assessments, school honors and rewards, financial
aid, and the Certificate of Initial Mastery (CIM), which is designed to
function much like the green card used by resident aliens, i.e., you
can't get a job without it. Marc Tucker's outfit has been paid
hundreds of thousands of dollars by individual states to write their
"reform" plans, which, funny thing, turn out to be substantially
- Control the vocabulary of education, so that many words have
double meanings. Thus, when parents hear the words "outcome-based"
or "performance-based," they think the outcomes must be skills such
as reading and the multiplication tables, but the educators mean
"accepting diversity" or "being environmentally sensitive."
- Coopt the Governors and the CEOs of large corporations to
front for these "reforms" by promising the former some control over
the flow of federal funds and the latter some free teenage labor. Once
a Governor or CEO signs on, all decisions are actually made by the same
education bureaucrats who gave us the problems in the first place.
An all-day briefing put together by Rep. Henry Hyde (R-IL) on
February 12 will examine federal funding mischief from the viewpoint of
state legislators all over the country.