Federal Education Policy and the States, 1945-2009
The Clinton Years: Goals 2000 and the "Contract for America"
The 1994 elections, marked by the proposed new "Contract for America," put Republicans in control of both houses of Congress for the first time since the 1950s. The 1995 session brought many efforts to eliminate Goals 2000-or to defund certain portions of it-and reduce the overall federal funding of education. Most of these attempts failed because of both vigorous opposition by education constituents and, in large part, presidential vetoes. Another force also played a role in the continuation of Goals 2000: the business coalition that had supported the legislation's agenda and federal standards setting. Initially involved by the first President Bush, such national business organizations as the Business Roundtable, U.S. Chamber of Commerce, National Alliance for Business, Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, and National Association of Manufacturers formed the Business Coalition for Education Reform, which served to moderate the repeal efforts and keep systemic reform and accountability in the minds of legislators. In 1996, these leaders would convene another summit with governors in Palisades, New York (only about 40 percent of the governors attended this time), and renew their call for standards, assessments, and technology. This summit, which included a large number of education leaders committed to standards-based reform, helped to keep the standards movement alive in many states.