ERIC Identifier: ED390023
Publication Date: 1995-00-00
Author: Talley, Ronda C. - Short, Rick Jay
Source: ERIC Clearinghouse on Counseling and Student Services Greensboro NC., American Psychological Association Washington DC.
Education and Health Care Advocacy: Perspectives on Goals 2000, IASA, IDEA and Healthy People 2000. ERIC Digest.
American education is changing. With the release of A Nation at Risk in 1983, the Americans focused on the report's declaration of "a rising tide of mediocrity" in the schools, which suggested unacceptable results in the education of America's children and youth (Talley & Short, 1995). Numerous other publications (Beyond Rhetoric, 1991; Raising Standards for American Education, 1992) have contributed to the criticism of schools and the educational process. Concurrent to the missives levied at schools' lack of progress with academics and other education-specific goals, policy makers and researchers also have questioned the nation's commitment to the health of its children. With the publication of "Healthy People 2000" (1990) by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, attention was drawn to the dramatic and unmet health needs of preschool and school-aged youngsters.
Spurred by these and other reports, school staff are reassessing traditional methods of doing business and are implementing innovations designed to produce a nation of "world-class citizens" (National Education Goals Panel, 1994). They also are striving to respond to these social reforms in education, health care, and human services within the schools.
The upheaval in the nation's education system has been noted and evaluated by numerous researchers and policy makers (Payzant, in press). The centerpiece of the current reform is a set of eight national educational goals enacted in the Goals 2000: Educate America Act (1994). It should be noted that education reform extends far beyond the eight national education goals; it reaches into the very fiber of school structures and management (Payzant, in press). Comprehensive education reform includes provisions such as site-based decision making and incentive structures designed to reward the performance of school personnel (Phillips & Boysen, in press).
HEALTH CARE REFORM
The need for reform in our nation's health care system was recognized long before the current administration introduced the Health Security Act of 1994 (HSA), which stimulated debate on this issue at state and local levels. Proposed health care reform legislation addressed schools as health service delivery sites (Talley & Short, in press) and as public health mechanisms (Talley & Short, 1994b). However, others (Centers for Disease Control & Prevention, 1993; Kolbe, 1995; Kolbe, Collins, & Cortese, in press) have articulated the relationship of health care to education. In their seminal article, Allensworth and Kolbe (1987) outlined eight components of school health: health education; physical education; health services; nutrition services; health promotion for staff; counseling, psychological, and social services; healthy school environment; and parent/community involvement.
HUMAN SERVICES REFORM: SERVICES INTEGRATION
Tackling education reform and health care reform simultaneously is an ambitious task. However, with increasingly complex student needs and the demands for accountability that accompany reform, more school systems are turning outward for assistance from parents, family members, businesses, community agencies, and other related organizations. School administrators and community leaders are realizing that they cannot help many students reach levels of accomplishment and well-being without providing more holistic, "wraparound" services. These forms of services integration are gaining increasing popularity as schools join with other agencies to offer comprehensive and coordinated service delivery systems for children and youth (Dryfoos, 1994; Paavola, et al., 1995, in press).
LEGISLATIVE/POLICY RESPONSES TO SOCIAL REFORM
Based on the social reform movements mentioned previously, Congress and other governmental bodies have sought ways to respond to the needs inherent in each movement (Talley, 1995). The legislation and policy document discussed in the next section demonstrate advocates' attempts to support reformed schools at the national, state, and local levels.
GOALS 2000: EDUCATE AMERICA ACT
P.L. 103-227, the Goals 2000: Educate America Act, authorized federal support for education reform. Signed into law on March 31, 1994, the major provisions of the eight goals were conceived at the Education Reform Summit of 1989, which was called by President Bush for the nation's governors. Summit attendees, lead by then-Governor Bill Clinton, hammered out a set of six education goals to direct the nation's effort in developing world-class students. Congress then added two additional goals. The Goals 2000 legislation states that by the year 2000, the following objectives will be met:
Goal 1: "Readiness for School." All children will start school ready to learn.
Goal 2: "School Completion." The high school graduation rate will increase to at least 90 percent.
Goal 3: "Student Achievement and Citizenship." All students will leave grades 4, 8, and 12 having demonstrated competency over challenging subject matter including English, mathematics, science, foreign languages, civics and government, economics, arts, history, and geography, and every school in America will ensure that all students learn to use their minds well, so that our students may be prepared for responsible citizenship, further learning, and productive employment in our Nation's modern economy.
Goal 4: "Teacher Education and Professional Development." The Nation's teaching force will have both access to programs for the continued improvement of their professional skills and the opportunity to acquire the knowledge and skills needed to instruct and prepare all American students for the next century.
Goal 5: "Mathematics and Science." United States students will be the first in the world in mathematics and science achievement.
Goal 6: "Adult Literacy and Lifelong Learning." Every adult American will be literate and will possess the knowledge and skills necessary to compete in a global economy. Each adult will exercise the rights and responsibilities of citizenship.
Goal 7: "Safe, Disciplined, and Alcohol- and Drug-Free Schools." Every school in the United States will be free of drugs, violence, and the unauthorized presence of firearms and alcohol and will offer a disciplined environment conducive to learning.
Goal 8: "Parental and Family Involvement." Every school will promote partnerships that will increase parental involvement and participation in promoting the social, emotional, and academic growth of children.
In addition to codifying the eight national education goals, Goals 2000 created both a National Education Goals Panel (NEGP) to monitor progress toward the goals, and a system to certify national curriculum content standards, national pupil performance standards, national opportunity-to-learn standards, and state standards and assessment, all of which are voluntary (Stedman, 1994b). The Act also provides waivers of requirements and regulations under designated federal education programs, grants for implementation of state systemic reform efforts, and a national board to establish occupational skill standards (U.S. Department of Education, 1994, 1995). The Act contains numerous related provisions, many of which are being attacked by the 104th Congress now in session (Talley & Short, in press).
Each state Goals 2000 action plan must address the following elements: (a) teaching and learning standards, and assessment; (b) opportunity-to-learn standards or strategies; (c) governance, accountability, and management; (d) parent and community partnerships; (e) system-wide improvements; (f) bottom-up reform; (g) dropout prevention; (h) coordination for school-to-work programs; (i) milestones and timelines; (j) coordination strategies; and (k) program improvement (U.S. Department of Education, 1995).
IMPROVING AMERICA'S SCHOOLS ACT (IASA)
The Improving America's Schools Act (IASA; P.L. 103-382) was signed into law on October 20, 1994. It rewrites the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 (ESEA), the largest single source of federal support for K-12 education in the United States, and authorizes its programs through 1999. Created as part of President Lyndon Johnson's War on Poverty, this $11-billion-a-year Act has provided federal assistance to poor schools, poor communities, and poor children for nearly 30 years. The Act authorizes most federal elementary and secondary education programs, including the Title I program, to provide compensatory education to educationally disadvantaged students. The IASA, while amending ESEA, also amends other legislation and establishes new programs (Stedman, 1994a).
Changes made to ESEA reflect the following broad themes: (a) linkages are created between major ESEA programs and systemic education reform, particularly Goals 2000; (b) states, localities, and schools will have increased administrative flexibility; (c) new foci on emerging areas of interest, such as technology, school safety, and school management, are included; and (d) there is greater targeting on students and schools with high needs.
With these amendments, several changes will be felt at the state and school levels. Future Title I funding is made contingent on State's having curriculum content and pupil performance standards, also a requirement under Goals 2000. In addition, the U.S. Department of Education is given authority to waive a wide array of requirements for ESEA programs for up to three years. Waivers may be extended if student performance has increased. States and local education agencies are also permitted to consolidate some program administration funds and transfer up to 5 percent of program funds under one area to another designated program. The IASA requires targeting of high-poverty schools and authorizes grants to reward states with high fiscal effort and low disparities in school finance programs.
Support is also provided for the infusion of technology into the curriculum, to underwrite schools' participation in the national information highway, to experiment with new forms of school management, such as public charter schools and private management of schools, and to increase school safety through the newly added component, the Safe and Drug-Free Schools and Communities Act.
INDIVIDUALS WITH DISABILITIES EDUCATION ACT (IDEA)
P. L. 94-142, the Education for All Handicapped Children Act of 1975, was amended in 1990 to become Part B of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act. The IDEA mandates free appropriate public education (FAPE) in the least restrictive environment for all students with special educational needs. This premiere piece of legislation for special-needs students radically changed the way school psychologists served schools, moving them into a primarily testing-for-placement role. However, under the law, school psychologists are designated "related service providers" and can provide counseling and other therapeutic services for children if those services are written into a student's individual education program.
The original legislation was amended in 1986 by P. L. 99-457 to include children under the age of five. Children from three to five years of age were made eligible for FAPE under the Preschool Grants Program (Section 619, Part B), while Part H of the new law established a statewide comprehensive system of early intervention services for infants and toddlers. The law also requires service providers to develop a family-centered, multidisciplinary family service plan for each child and family.
HEALTHY PEOPLE 2000
Healthy People 2000: National Health Promotion and Disease Prevention Objectives (1990) is a policy document, promulgated by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, that has as its major focus the nation's commitment to three broad goals:
1. to increase the span of healthy life for Americans,
2. to reduce health disparities among Americans, and
3. to achieve access to preventive services for all Americans. Healthy People 2000 presents 300 measurable targets or objectives to be met by the year 2000. These are organized into 22 priority areas, with 21 of them grouped as health promotion, health protection, or preventive services (data and surveillance activities constitute the 22nd area).
Combined with Goals 2000, Healthy People 2000 spotlights the important interrelationships between health and education for children and youth. At least 15 of the Healthy People 2000 objectives are directly achievable by schools. In addition, it is estimated that schools can play important roles in meeting nearly 100 additional Healthy People 2000 objectives (Kolbe, Collins, & Cortese, in press; U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 1992).
A CALL FOR ADVOCACY
Social reforms reflect society's attempt to address dramatic challenges to the social order; such reforms impact the population as a whole and children in particular. Since schools are a reflection of the communities in which they are embedded, social reform does not stop at the schoolhouse door, but rather is felt throughout the education system.
Challenges to educational excellence, threats to child safety and development, and malaise in a human services system which is often fragmented and dysfunctional, rarely addressing the needs of those it was designed to serve, all factor together to compel action. The legislation and policy described in this article are attempts to address one of our nation's most serious challenges: the education and protection of our children. Psychologists, as experts in education, health, and human services, have a responsibility to lend their expertise, skills, and leadership to this tremendous challenge [to the educational and protection of our children].
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