Goodling Warns History Standards Could Sink Goals 2000

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The chairman of the House Committee on Economic and Educational Opportunities said last week that he had warned the developers of the national history standards that their project could threaten the Goals 2000 program.

Rep. Bill Goodling, R-Pa., in a speech to textbook publishers meeting here, said he had told leaders of the bedeviled project: "All you did was fuel the fire to see whether you could eliminate Goals 2000," the Clinton Administration initiative that aims to spur states to set high academic standards.

He said he also told them they got "messed up" because there were too many California historians involved.

Mr. Goodling said he hopes the history-standards developers make the necessary changes so that "we can get on and save the thrust of Goals 2000." Project leaders said last month that they would revise the history documents, which critics say have a liberal political bias.

The Association of American Publishers had invited Mr. Goodling to address its school division on the question of "whose values should be taught in our nation's schools."

But the chairman wasted little time in turning to one of his favorite topics--the federal government's role in education.

After calling on Congress to get out of the business of micromanaging schools, he pointed to a Democratic colleague, Rep. George Miller of California, and said Mr. Miller would run all the schools if he could.

He cited Mr. Miller's championing of legislation that requires schools to expel gun-toting students for a year, and a teacher-certification proposal that caused House members to be deluged for two days with calls from outraged home-schoolers--who thought, incorrectly, that it would require parents to be certified as teachers to teach their children at home.

Add Lynne V. Cheney to the list of former agency chiefs calling for the abolition of their agencies.

In a Wall Street Journal editorial-page essay last week, titled "Kill My Old Agency, Please," the former chairwoman of the National Endowment for the Humanities said "it is time to cut funding for cultural elites."

She reiterated her criticism of the national history standards, which were partially financed by the N.E.H. at the end of Ms. Cheney's tenure there during the Bush Administration. Ms. Cheney said the standards involved a "kind of intellectual shell game" in which the grant proposal differed greatly from the end result.

Government support of arts projects and standards-setting is "counterproductive," she said.

For years, a huge color mural--a tribute to the industrial worker in early-20th-century America--graced a side wall in room 2175 of the House Rayburn Office Building, the main hearing room for the now-defunct Committee on Education and Labor and its successor, the Committee on Economic and Educational Opportunities.

Now the mural is gone. But Republicans say this is not a slap at organized labor by the new G.O.P. majority in Congress, although the party is often at odds with unions.

The mural had been on loan from the A.F.L.-C.I.O. After the November elections turned the committee over to Republican leadership, the union asked for the mural back, according to a committee spokesman.

Meanwhile, the spokesman said, a portrait of retired Rep. William D. Ford, D-Mich., who chaired the panel from 1990 to 1994, has been commissioned. Paintings of Mr. Ford's two immediate predecessors, former Rep. Augustus F. Hawkins, D-Calif., and the late Rep. Carl D. Perkins, D-Ky., still hang in the room.

Rep. William L. Clay, D-Mo., the ranking Democrat on the education panel, will have to relinquish his status as the ranking minority member on its Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations.

Reversing an earlier vote, the House Democratic Caucus voted last month to adopt a rule similar to one approved by Republicans that prevents members from holding ranking membership on more than one committee or subcommittee.

Rep. Tom Sawyer, D-Ohio, will be the ranking Democrat on the subcommittee.

Mr. Clay, meanwhile, has named June Harris as his education coordinator. She has served on the staff of the full committee and an education subcommittee since 1983.

--Karen Diegmueller & Mark Pitsch

Vol. 14, Issue 19

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