Common Core is Goals 2000 Renamed for the 21st Century

The Michigan House Panel on Common Core will hold it’s first hearing next Tuesday with a vote predicted in September.   The Petosky News called the outlook for approval of the Common Core “decent.”    However, proponents of the standards are not taking any chances; scheduled to convince lawmakers that this is all “state-led”  is Achieve President Michael Cohen.

Here’s a brief bio on Mr. Cohen

Michael Cohen is a nationally recognized leader in education policy and standards based reform.  He has been the President of Achieve since 2003.

Mike held several senior education positions in the Clinton Administration, including Assistant Secretary for Elementary and Secondary Education at the U.S. Department of Education, Special Assistant to the President for Education Policy at the White House, and Senior Advisor to U.S. Secretary of Education Richard Riley.  He led the Administration’s effort to design, enact and implement Goals 2000, the first substantial federal initiative to support state-led standards-based education reform.   He also played an instrumental role in the development of all of the Administration’s K-12 education initiatives.

Clinton strongly believed in national education standards and that “We can no longer hide behind our love of local control schools. and use that as an excuse not to hold ourselves to a high standards”      As Governor of Arkansas, Clinton played a “prominent role” in an education summit on national standards.

In September 1989, President George H.W. Bush convened the nation’s governors in Charlottesville, Va., for the first-ever National Education Summit. Their aim was to draft national “goals” for education. The summit, in which a young governor from Arkansas named Bill Clinton played a prominent role, established six broad objectives to be reached by 2000.

Goals 2000 became Clinton’s education initiative in his first term as President in 1992.    As a senior education advisor, Michael Cohen was charged with the task of  implementing Goals 2000.   He succeeded, almost.

in 1994 Clinton signed the Goals 2000: Educate America Act.   With this act, the National Education Standards and Improvement Council (NESIC), was created.  the NESIC had the authority to approve or reject states’ standards.  But when the Republicans took over Congress, Goals 2000 and the NESIC became increasingly controversial and was eventually defeated.   Mr. Cohen was not deterred; he simply changed strategy.  In 2003 Cohen took his current position as President of Achieve in an attempt to finally accomplish his mission.

In 2007 Cohen said,

“What is conventionally thought of as national standards-that is, the federal government leads, it picks somebody to write them, and it puts it out there for states to use-I’m increasingly unconvinced that that’s the way to get there,”

Common Core State Standards is  Goals 2000 renamed but the goal remains the same – national standards for the 21st century.    Under the guise of being “state-led” Common Core State Standards, under the leadership of Cohen were adopted by 46 states in 2010.

In a 2013 editorial Cohen co-wrote with Craig Barrett of Intel he said,

These naysayers attempt to scare by claiming the CCSS were created by the Obama administration. In fact, the CCSS were driven by a bipartisan group of governors and state school chiefs. We were part of that effort – side by side from the beginning with governors, state school chiefs, educators and reformers who made it happen.When the trench work on these standards began, President George W. Bush was in office. But neither President Bush nor President Obama, or their representatives, were at the table, ever. These standards were created by and for states.

Clinton’s name is noticeably absent from his Presidential list despite the fact that Cohen championed Goals 2000 and national standards in his administration.    Perhaps Cohen is hoping people will forget Clinton’s involvement in national standards and tests and his involvement in that initiative.   Not a chance.

Michael Cohen has been championing national standards for over three decades at the federal level and now as President of Achieve.

When Cohen comes to Lansing next week, state lawmakers on the panel would do Michigan parents and taxpayers a great service by asking him some tough questions about what he believes national standards  how he plans to achieve them.