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Bush's Advisers Urge Input On Measuring Goals Progress

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Washington--Members of President Bush's education advisory committee last week urged him to consult with educators before deciding how to measure progress toward meeting the national education goals adopted in February by the President and the National Governors' Association.

After breaking up into smaller groups to discuss the measurement issue, literacy, and the President's role in education, panel members also urged Mr. Bush to "step up his leadership" on education issues.

James E. Duffy, vice president of Capital Cities/ABC, who led the literacy session, said Mr. Bush should support the creation of a national literacy clearinghouse and make literacy programs an important part of the youth-services efforts he advocates.

The measurement group agreed that the most difficult of the six goals to track is the one calling for all children to be ready for school.

"We are going to have a difference with the White House, not on the goal but on what it means," said Keith B. Geiger, president of the National Education Association.

"There was a lot of discussion about this goal because there are really no output measures," said Roger B. Porter, the President's domestic-policy adviser, who led the Administration's goal-setting efforts.

Mr. Geiger and James R. Oglesby, president of the National School Boards Association, argued that "inputs" such as children's access to health care and early-childhood education should be measured.

"Have a 1st-grade teacher spend a day with a group of kids; they'll tell you who's ready," said Chester E. Finn Jr., professor of education and public policy at Vanderbilt University.

Panel members also argued that curricular standards should be measured in conjunction with graduation rates, and that assessment should consider whether standards for high-school-equivalency certificates really are equivalent to a high-school education.--j.m.

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