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Renewable Goals

It's only a few days before school reopens in the year 2000. For most American children, math, reading, and science won't change much with the end of the 1900s. But let's not forget that this click in the calendar was supposed to make a big difference educationally.

Remember "Goals 2000," a national undertaking unveiled with great fanfare 10 years ago by President Bush and the nation's governors. Ten goals were put forward, including having all children start school "ready to learn," a 90 percent high school graduation rate, a No. 1 world ranking in math and science, and universal adult literacy. And all to be accomplished by ... well, right about now.

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Anyone with a grain of pragmatism probably recognized those goals would serve more as motivators than attainable targets. The country hasn't reached any of them, though it's improving on some, and the presidential candidates are invoking them - e.g., Al Gore's preschool-for-all plan.

Some commentators have bemoaned our slow progress toward these goals. Instead of moaning over unfulfilled goals, let's just renew the commitment - at every level of government and community. Goals 2010, here we come.

(c) Copyright 1999. The Christian Science Publishing Society