Education

Riley Rises To The Defense

March 01, 1995 2 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

The secretary did not name any of the detractors. But in recent weeks, three prominent appointees of President Clinton’s Republican predecessors--Lamar Alexander, William Bennett, and Lynne Cheney--have spoken critically on such issues as the continued existence of the U.S. Education Department, the Clinton administration’s Goals 2000 education reform strategy, and the effort to develop national academic standards. Some Congressional Republicans, meanwhile, have questioned other administration programs such as national service and direct loans for college.

To blunt the attacks--especially those of Alexander and Bennett, both former secretaries of education--Riley was joined at Thomas Jefferson Middle School in Arlington, Va., by Terrel Bell, President Ronald Reagan’s first secretary of education. Bell is remembered for preventing the White House from pursuing a plan to shut down the Education Department and for presiding over the release of A Nation at Risk, the 1983 report that was the catalyst for much of the school reform activity of the past decade.

In his speech, Secretary Riley touched on many familiar themes: family involvement, the need for safe and drug-free schools, and the disconnection between youths and society. But his remarks had a distinctly defensive tone that might not have been so strong had the November elections kept Democratic lawmakers in power. Riley pledged “an honest review’’ of current federal education programs as the Republican-controlled Congress pursues spending cuts. But he also said spending on education should be compatible with deficit reduction because both aim “to secure this nation’s prosperity.’'

In particular, the secretary called for the preservation of Goals 2000, the administration’s cornerstone school reform program, which offers grants to states and school districts that establish high academic standards. Goals 2000 not only provides local flexibility lawmakers are looking for, he argued, but also a measure of accountability.

Riley pointed to the U.S. victory in the 35th International Mathematical Olympiad (the six team members flanked the secretary during his speech) as evidence that the nation is making progress toward establishing high academic standards.

The secretary also:

  • Declared his opposition to a national examination system and to using publicly financed vouchers to send children to private schools.
  • Announced that he, Attorney General Janet Reno, and Lee Brown, the administration’s “drug czar,’' would fan out across the country in the coming months to emphasize the need to combat youth violence.
  • And urged television executives and filmmakers “to stop glamorizing assassins and killers.’'

A version of this article appeared in the March 01, 1995 edition of Teacher as Riley Rises To The Defense


Commenting has been disabled on edweek.org effective Sept. 8. Please visit our FAQ section for more details. To get in touch with us visit our contact page, follow us on social media, or submit a Letter to the Editor.


Events

This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Teaching Webinar
6 Key Trends in Teaching and Learning
As we enter the third school year affected by the pandemic—and a return to the classroom for many—we come better prepared, but questions remain. How will the last year impact teaching and learning this school
Content provided by Instructure
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
School & District Management Webinar
Ensuring Continuity of Learning: How to Prepare for the Next Disruption
Across the country, K-12 schools and districts are, again, considering how to ensure effective continuity of learning in the face of emerging COVID variants, politicized debates, and more. Learn from Alexandria City Public Schools superintendent
Content provided by Class
Teaching Profession Live Online Discussion What Have We Learned From Teachers During the Pandemic?
University of California, Santa Cruz, researcher Lora Bartlett and her colleagues spent months studying how the pandemic affected classroom teachers. We will discuss the takeaways from her research not only for teachers, but also for

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

Education Schools Get the Brunt of Latest COVID Wave in South Carolina
In the past few weeks, South Carolina has set records for COVID-19 hospitalizations and new cases have approached peak levels of last winter.
4 min read
Two Camden Elementary School students in masks listen as South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster talks about steps the school is taking to fight COVID-19, Wednesday, Sept. 15, 2021, in Camden, S.C. McMaster has adamantly and repeatedly come out against requiring masks in schools even as the average number of daily COVID-19 cases in the state has risen since early June. (AP Photo/Jeffrey Collins)
Education More States Are Requiring Schools to Teach Native American History and Culture
Advocates say their efforts have gained some momentum with the nation’s reckoning over racial injustice since the killing of George Floyd.
3 min read
A dancer participates in an intertribal dance at Schemitzun on the Mashantucket Pequot Reservation in Mashantucket, Conn., Saturday, Aug. 28, 2021. Connecticut and a handful of other states have recently decided to mandate students be taught about Native American culture and history. (AP Photo/Jessica Hill)
Education Judge's Temporary Order Allows Iowa Schools to Mandate Masks
A federal judge ordered the state to immediately halt enforcement of a law that prevents school boards from ordering masks to be worn.
4 min read
Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds speaks to reporters following a news conference, Thursday, Aug. 19, 2021, in West Des Moines, Iowa. Reynolds lashed out at President Joe Biden Thursday after he ordered his education secretary to explore possible legal action against states that have blocked school mask mandates and other public health measures meant to protect students against COVID-19. Reynolds, a Republican, has signed a bill into law that prohibits school officials from requiring masks, raising concerns as delta variant virus cases climb across the state and schools resume classes soon. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)
Education Hurricane Ida Deals New Blow to Louisiana Schools Struggling to Reopen
The opening of the school year offered teachers a chance to fully assess the pandemic's effects, only to have students forced out again.
8 min read
Six-year-old Mary-Louise Lacobon sits on a fallen tree beside the remnants of her family's home destroyed by Hurricane Ida, in Dulac, La., on Sept. 4, 2021. Louisiana students, who were back in class after a year and a half of COVID-19 disruptions kept many of them at home, are now missing school again after Hurricane Ida. A quarter-million public school students statewide have no school to report to, though top educators are promising a return is, at most, weeks away, not months.
Six-year-old Mary-Louise Lacobon sits on a fallen tree beside the remnants of her family's home destroyed by Hurricane Ida, in Dulac, La., on Sept. 4, 2021.
John Locher/AP