Clinton Education Programs Promote Mission Creep

Published February 1, 2000

With the 1994 approval of the Clinton administration’s education policy vehicles–Goals 2000, the School-to-Work Act, and the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 (ESEA)–the U.S. Congress not only expanded the federal role in education but also expanded the role of the public school beyond academics to become a “one-stop shopping center” for social services.

As the Family Research Council recently noted, these federal statutes designate public schools as social service agencies to provide access to counseling, job training, health care, and other services.

While each of the 1994 education laws makes reference to “one-stop shopping” at public schools, Title XI of ESEA, called “Coordinated Services,” is wholly dedicated to the topic. As defined in Title XI, coordinated services “means a comprehensive approach to meeting the educational, health, social service, and other needs of children and their families. . . .” Local districts and schools may use up to 5 percent of their ESEA funds for such coordinated services activities.

The Family Research Council recommends repeal of the “Coordinated Services” provision of ESEA, arguing that schools should focus on academics and that parents–not public schools–should make decisions about a student’s health and welfare.