National Education Goals Panel, National Education Goals Report: Building a Nation of Learners 1994

Until now, this report was unavailable online. ERIC does not have it; nor does the NEGP archive.

So here it is—the only digitized copy online so far as I can discern.

As noted elsewhere on this blog, the National Education Goals Panel was a major payer in federal education policy in the 1990s. It moved the policy conversation to center on accountability, standards, and testing. Read here to to learn where to get free copies of the other NEGP reports.

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House Republican Research Committee, Ideas for Tomorrow, Choices for Today (1985)

The full title of this document is Ideas for Tomorrow, Choices for Today: Policy of the Committee on the First One Hundred Days.

This document is posted here on the Federal Education Policy History website because it includes an entry on education that expresses the perspective of many Republicans of the time. Page 20 speaks of education as “an investment in a healthy democracy and a growing economy.” It also makes a case for “tuition tax credits” to help families choose “independent” (i.e., private) schools, which provide “diversity and competition” (for public schools).

As the address on the rear of the booklet indicates, this is no private sector, think tank document. The House Republican Research Committee published this document, which was authored by the Committee on the First Hundred Days. These aforementioned groups are what as known as “congressional member organizations.”  This document is, as page 63 notes, what House Republican leaders were presenting as “a set of policy alternatives for the 99th Congress and beyond.”

You can read the entire document in the window below. To view it a larger window, click here.

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National Council On Education Standards and Testing

The National Council on Education Standards and Testing was established by Congress in 1991 (P.L. 102-62; 102 Stat. 305). It may have had the worst acronym for any governmental entity ever—NCEST.

The council was created for the purpose of providing “advice on the desirability and feasibility of national standards and testing in education.”

NCEST had 32 members, most of whom were appointed by the Secretary of Education. NCEST was tasked with issuing its report by December 31, 1991.

The National Council On Education Standards and Testing (NCEST) met its deadline, publishing Raising Standards for American Education, which advocated national standards and assessments. RAND took issue with the findings, offering critical testimony before Congress. NCEST’s statute authorized $1 million in appropriations to do its work, and required it to disband 90 days after submission of its report.

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Authorization for the National Council On Education Standards and Testing (1991)

This statute also established the National Education Commission on Time and Learning.

The citation for this law is P.L. 102-62; 105 Stat. 305.

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National Council On Education Standards and Testing, Raising Standards for American Education (1992)

The full citation of this study is: National Council On Education Standards and Testing, Raising Standards for American Education: A Report to Congress, the Secretary of Education, the National Education Goals Panel, and the American People (Washington: GPO, January 24, 1992)

Details on NCEST, which produced this report, can be found on the Federal Education Policy History website.


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Francis Adams, The Free School System of the United States (London, 1875)

Francis Adams The Free School System of the United States 1875 FrontispageThis book carries information on a broad range of aspects of America schools in the mid- and late-19th century. Chapters covers the structure of schooling systems, their cost and revenues therefore, attendance, religion and morals, teachers and their training, and curricula.

The author, who served as secretary of the UK’s National Education League, also treats the topic of governmental relations (federal to state, state to local). These two quotes underscore the centrality of federalism in U.S. schooling.

The dread of “centralisation” which prevails throughout the States has had the effect of checking every movement for enlarging the powers of the National Government. The whole tide of public sentiment in America is in favour of a perfectly unfettered working of the State systems. (pp. 20-21)

The annual meetings of the National Educational Association are attended by the most prominent educationists from all parts of the Union, and all topics affecting education are discussed. At the meeting of the Association held at Washington, January, 1874, it was resolved unanimously, “That this
convention strongly approves the policy hitherto pursued by the Federal Government, of leaving the people and local Government of each State to manage their own educational affairs without interference, believing that the principle on which this policy is based is as sound educationally as it is politically. (p. 23)

This fascinating book can be read freely on the Internet at It is available in a variety of formats, including PDF, Kindle, and EPub.

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George Washington and the Federal Role In Education

George Washington

The U.S. Constitution carries no explicit authorization for the federal government to have any role in education. Nevertheless, this did not preclude the nation’s first president from advocating the creation of federal civilian and military universities. George Washington made his case to Congress repeatedly, perhaps most forcefully in his eighth presidential address (1796):

I have heretofore proposed to the consideration of Congress, the expediency of establishing a National University; and also a Military Academy. The desirableness of both these Institutions, has so constantly increased with every new view I have taken of the subject, that I cannot omit the opportunity of once for all, recalling your attention to them…. Amongst the motives to such an Institution, the assimilation of the principles, opinions and manners of our Country men, but the common education of a portion of our Youth from every quarter, well deserves attention. The more homogeneous our Citizens can be made in these particulars, the greater will be our prospect of permanent Union; and a primary object of such a National Institution should be, the education of our Youth in the science of Government . In a Republic, what species of knowledge can be equally important? and what duty, more pressing on its Legislature, than to patronize a plan for communicating it to those, who are to be the future guardians of the liberties of the Country?

The Institution of a Military Academy, is also recommended by cogent reasons. However pacific the general policy of a Nation may be, it ought never to be without an adequate stock of Military knowledge for emergencies.

Washington was dispirited by his inability to see his vision into existence. He declared in a 1797 letter,

My Sollicitude for the establishment of a National University in this Country, has been great, and unceasing; but as the Sentiments of the Legislature have not been in unison therewith, I had postponed the further consideration of the subject to a moment of more leizure (than has lately been my lot) to see if I could devise some Plan by which my wishes could be carried into effect.

Washington died two year later. In 1802, Congress established the United States Military Academy (AKA West Point), the first of five national military schools. Congress later established civilian higher education institutions, including Gallaudet (1857) and Howard universities (1867), but it did not create a national university for the study of government as Washington desired. Legislation to establish a United States Public Service Academy was introduced in the 109th through 111th Congresses; none of these bills emerged from committee .

Below are links to four Washington documents that mention his proposal for a national university.

Source: John C. Fitzpatrick, ed., The Writings of George Washington from the Original Manuscript Sources, 1745-1799 (1931-1944), at

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