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Education Secretary invites cities to join America 2000.

Our schools are changing all across America. From Alaska to Alabama, New Hampshire to New Mexico, teachers, parents, students, business leaders, and local elected officials are uniting to reach the National Education Goals. You can join this education revolution.

Eighteen months ago, President Bush challenged every town and city in America to become an America 2000 community and work to achieve the six National Education Goals. The response has been phenomenal. Currently, over 2,000 communities, 44 states and 1,000 local chambers of commerce are committed to America 2000. All the communities have one goal in common: they want to create the best schools in the world for their children. The America 2000 revolution is sweeping the country, and I invite your community to take part in the movement to transform our schools.

Creative Communities

I am continually impressed and inspired by the dedication and creativity I see as I travel across the country. Mayor Douglas Palmer and the Trenton 2000 volunteers, with the help of the "Weed and Seed" program, are creating safe-haven schools, open 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. to keep children off dangerous streets.

Miami 2000 is working with Project Phoenix, a partnership of education, business, and community leaders, to create dozens of new break-the-mold schools in hurricane-damaged Miami.

In San Antonio, Mayor Nelson Wolff put together a steering committee and started San Antonio 2000. Among other goals, they're working on Goal 2, dropout prevention. San Antonio 2000 represents a unique collaboration of four "partner" institutions- -the Chamber of Commerce, the San Antonio city government, the Bexar county government and the University of Texas at San Antonio Mayor Donald Fraser was instrumental in starting Minneapolis 2000 this past July, and is continuing the push for better schools in Minneapolis. Mayor Steve Bartlett, and members of Dallas 2000, will be focusing on all the goals, especially Goal 5, literate, responsible workforce. With New Orleans 2000, Mayor Sidney Barthelemy is working toward Goal 6, safe, disciplined, drug-free schools.

Mayor Tommy Tomlin, and School Board President Patsy Duran, helped start the Las Cruces 2000 program in New Mexico.

Mayor Sharon Pratt-Kelly and Superintendent Frank Smith are leading the charge for Washington, D.C. 2000, and the community has added two goals of its own--one on increasing parental involvement, and another on the importance of the fine arts.

Omaha Mayor P. J. Morgan, along with John Gottschalk, publisher of the Omaha World Herald, and the Greater Omaha Chamber of Commerce are leading the Omaha 2000 drive focusing on Goal 5, literate responsible workforce.

Former Virginia first lady Jeannie Baliles is leading a strong bi-partisan effort for Richmond 2000. Representatives of education, business and government from six local jurisdictions are working together to pursue the six National Education Goals.

Charlotte 2000 and superintendent John Murphy, with strong support from the entire community, have created a plan for county-wide reform to give them world-class schools.

The problems may be different, but the solution is the same--community involvement. And it can happen in your community if it isn't already.

Satellite Town Meetings

To exchange ideas on how to reach the National Education Goals, the U.S. Department of Education and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce are co-sponsoring monthly America 2000 Satellite Town Meetings. Last month, more than 2,500 communities participated in what we think was the largest satellite town meeting in history. The focus was on Goal 3, all children proficient in at least English, math, science, history and geography. And, design team leaders from three of the New American Schools National design teams presented information on their break-the-mold school plans.

America 2000 Coalition

The formation of the America 2000 Coalition, Inc. was announced recently. A non-profit, non-partisan coalition to promote the achievement of the six National Education Goals community by community, it is comprised of more than 50 major national trade associations, non-profit groups, and businesses.

It may be the most powerful alliance of national organizations ever marshalled behind American education. Some of the founding members leading the way are: the National Urban League, the American Gas Association, Cities in Schools, the American Red Cross, Hewlett- Packard, the National Executive Service Corps, Wal-Mart, Inc., Girl Scouts of the U.S.A., and the National Council of La Raza. The America 2000 Coalition will also be distributing the "Daily Report Card" the national daily update on community efforts to reach America's education goals.

Four Revolutions

Clearly, communities are already making significant progress, but there is still much that needs to be done. If we want to change the country, we must change our schools. America 2000 is promoting four revolutionary ideas to help communities transform education:

1) Break-the-Mold New American Schools 2) Academic standards and voluntary national exams 3) Flexibility for teachers and principals 4) Educational choice for families

New American Schools

At the president's request, the New American Schools Development Corporation (NASDC) was formed to create break-the-mold schools. The business community jumped in and has already raised $50 million to support the effort. Eleven national design teams, out of almost 700 submissions, were recently chosen to move forward with their proposals for the 1993 school year. These proposals came from across the U.S. from some of the most creative minds in our country.

For example, I was recently in Bensenville, Illinois, a small community with big ideas. Their design was one of the eleven chosen by NASDC. This village of 17,000 plans to turn the entire community into a school, with a Lifelong Learning Center at the hub. Students will learn math at the bank and journalism at the local paper. School facilities will be open all year, from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily. The whole village cooperated to make it all possible. The Elementary School, the High School, the Park Board, the Village Library, and the village itself joined together to create a break-the-mold program.

In the Los Angeles design selected by NASDC, students will have a "moving diamond" of support, linking each young student with an older student, teachers, parents and a community volunteer. Teachers will also become learners in this design. One day a week will be allocated to teachers to continue their learning, to create teaching plans with colleagues, and to find ways to better address the needs of students.

In Orrville, Ohio, home of the J. M. Smucker Company, the Heartland Incorporated design team, with the generous help of CEO Tim Smucker, is going ahead with its proposal even though they weren't funded by NASDC. The community response in Orrville has been inspiring, for hundred citizens working together for a year and "No one has said no" when called upon to participte.

All these proposals have many things in common--they're all exciting. They all have tough standards. They are all generating bold new ideas: high schools in corporate headquarters, kindergartens in banks, elementary schools operated by museums. School schedules would change radically. What sense doe sit make to empty the schools at 3 p.m. when gangs are in the street and parents are working? School staffing would change. New technology would fill the schools. These designs will be a catalyst for change.

Standards and Testing

We've learned from the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM) that high standards can provide a vision of what is possible for all children. Once we know what we want to accomplish, states and localities can begin to change instruction, textbooks, and teacher training to meet the challenge. Forty-one states have revised, or are revising, their math curriculum frameworks based on the NCTM standards. Already, about 40 percent of the classrooms in the U.S. are using the new, tougher math standards NCTM established. Portland, Michigan, a rural small town, has adopted the new standards created by NCTM, retrained its teachers, and math achievement scores have gone straight to the top in Michigan.

The Department of Education is working with experts and teachers to develop a national consensus of world class standards in other core subjects: history, science, civics, geography, English, and the arts. These new standards will be ready for the schools by 1994-95, so parents will know what their children need to learn to live and work in this world. We are also working to develop a voluntary national examination system to help states and communities assess if our children are learning what they should.

The Nation's Goals

All of this change, of course, must occur community by community. In communities all across the country America 2000 is working: Memphis 2000, Bangor 2000, Grand Junction 2000, Northwest Arkansas 2000 and hundreds more. All pursuing the six National Education Goals, and frequently adding a few of their own. As Arianne Williams, a fourth grader at Cog Hill Elementary School, said at the kickoff of New Orleans 2000, "These are not the president's goals, these are not the governor's goals, they are the nation's goals."

We must equip Arianne and all our children to live, work and compete in the new global economy. To change our country we must change our schools. If our space-walking astronauts can capture a satellite and secure it to their craft, we can create the best schools in the world for our children and grandchildren.

Get Involved

Many mayors and council members are leading the America 2000 crusade that is sweeping the country. I challenge you to join them in moving your community toward the National Education Goals. Let me suggest the following steps to help your community become an America 2000 community. Tune-in to the next America 2000 Satellite Town Meeting on November 17th at 8:30 p.m. EST, on National Education Goal 5, a literate, responsible workforce. Sign up for the America 2000 Newsletter. Attend an America 2000 regional workshop, the next one is in Dallas on November 19th and 20th. Listen to our daily America 2000 Conference Call, we talk to people all over the country who are working toward the National Education Goals. Call us at 1-800-USA-LEARN for more information on all these steps.

The National Education Goals

By the year 2000: * All children in America will start school ready to

learn. * The high school graduation rate will increase to

at least 90 percent. * American students will leave grades four, eight,

and twelve having demonstrated competency in

challenging subject matter including English,

mathematics, science, history, and geography;

and every school in America will ensure that all

students learn to use their minds well, so they may

be prepared for responsible citizenship, further

learning, and productive employment in our

modern economy. * U.S. students will be first in the world in science

and mathematics achievement. * Every adult American will be literate and will

possess the knowledge and skills necessary to

compete in a global economy and exercise the rights

and responsibilities of citizenship. * Every school in America will be free of drugs and

violence and will offer disciplined environment

conducive to learning.
COPYRIGHT 1992 National League of Cities
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1992 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:includes related information on education goals
Author:Alexander, Lamar
Publication:Nation's Cities Weekly
Date:Oct 19, 1992
Words:1820
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