On Jan. 22, 1997, President Bill Clinton made a speech to a suburban Chicago audience so friendly that it interrupted him with applause 29 times. One line in his speech, however, was greeted with stony silence: "We can no longer hide behind our love of local control of the schools."
Clinton is gone from the White House, but the federalization laws of his administration - Goals 2000, School-to-Work, and Workforce Investment - are still in place. President George W. Bush, who says the federal government has "a role to play in education," has merely substituted labels more comforting to Republicans: standards, tests, and accountability.
Now we find that the process is no longer just federalization; it's globalization. Who would have guessed that the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization would be positioning itself to design curricula for U.S. schools?
Former President Ronald Reagan withdrew the United States from UNESCO on Dec. 31, 1984, because it was corrupt, anti-Western and a vehicle for far-left propaganda. Unfortunately, President George W. Bush rejoined UNESCO in 2003.
UNESCO's efforts in the 1960s and 1970s to influence U.S. school curricula were unsuccessful. But now UNESCO has found a sugar daddy.
On Nov. 17, 2004, at UNESCO's headquarters in Paris, UNESCO signed a 26-page "Cooperation Agreement" with Microsoft Corp. to develop a "master curriculum (syllabus)" for teacher training in information technologies based on standards, guidelines, benchmarks and assessment techniques. The Agreement states that the syllabus will "form the basis for deriving training content to be delivered to teachers," and "UNESCO will explore how to facilitate content development."
Microsoft Corp. Chairman Bill Gates initialed every page in his own handwriting. You can read the agreement at www.eagleforum.org/links, but Microsoft has fixed it so you can't print it out.
Following the signing of the agreement, UNESCO Director General Koichiro Matsuura explained it in a speech. One of its goals, he said, is "fostering Web-based communities of practice including content development and worldwide curricula reflecting UNESCO values."
No doubt that is agreeable to Gates, because the agreement states "Microsoft supports the objectives of UNESCO as stipulated in UNESCO's constitution."
The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has helped to finance the National Governors Association plan in Idaho to train students to work in the global economy. Idaho is one of six states selected by the National Governors Association for pilot projects.
Phyllis Schlafly is a national leader of the pro-family movement, a nationally syndicated columnist and author of Feminist Fantasies.
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