In 1989 President George H.W. Bush and the nation’s governors convened to establish a set of six national education goals to be accomplished by the year 2000. Among these were to ensure that all students enter school healthy and ready to learn, that at least 90 percent of students graduate from high school, that all students are competent in the academic disciplines and that the United States ranks “first in the world in mathematics and science achievement.”
In 2010 none of these goals have been accomplished, and we are further away from achieving most of them than we were two decades ago. More children live in poverty and lack healthcare; the high school graduation rate has slipped below 70 percent; the achievement gap between minority and white students in reading and math is larger than it was in 1988; and US performance on international tests has continued to drop.