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Governors Prepare for Dec. 7 Goals Meeting

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The nation's governors and the Bush Administration have taken several preliminary steps designed to carry out the agreement signed at the President's education summit in September to establish national education goals.

Gov. Bill Clinton of Arkansas, a lead governor in the goal-setting process, told the Council of Chief State School Officers at its conference last week that the President hopes to include specifics about the proposed goals in his State of the Union Message in late January.

The governors hope to adopt a set of national goals at the National Governors' Association's winter meeting in February, Mr. Clinton said.

He said the first major effort toward reaching agreement on those goals will be a Dec. 7 meeting in Washington of the nga's Task Force on Education.

"Our plan," Mr. Clinton said, "is to develop some preliminary views, seek input from every possible source, and present goals to the governors for formal consideration when we meet in February."

A spokesman for the n.g.a. said 180 education organizations have been invited to testify at that meeting or to submit written suggestions on what the performance goals should be.

To help education organizations prepare for that hearing, the n.g.a. has scheduled two informational sessions for Nov. 21 and 27 at the organization's Washington office.

Earlier this month, Mr. Clinton, Gov. Carroll A. Campbell of South Carolina, and Gov. Terry Branstad of Iowa, the chairman of the nga, met at the White House with John Sununu, the President's chief of staff; Roger B. Porter, Mr. Bush's domestic policy adviser; Richard Darman, budget director; and Lauro F. Cavazos, Secretary of Education, to coordinate efforts between the governors and the President.

In the meantime, members of the governors' task force, chaired by Mr. Clinton and Mr. Campbell, are conferring with a technical advisory group of "education experts" as they begin to form the goals, the nga spokesman said.

After the Dec. 7 hearing, individual governors will return to their states to solicit reactions to help guide them before their February meeting.

Once the goals are set, Governor Campbell said, "We will focus on developing strategies for reaching them and tackling the rest of the ambitious agenda we set at the summit, including accountability, flexibility, and restructuring."--rrw

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