|The EFA 2000 Assessment: Country Reports|
|United States of America|
I Part Descriptive Section
I am delighted to submit this report from the United States to the International Consultative Forum on Education For All reviewing the experience and continuing commitment of many organizations and individuals throughout the United States to the EFA goals established at Jomtien ten years ago. Many of the individuals and organizations that have contributed to this report have worked steadily on addressing critical education needs within the United States. Others have been devoted to collaborative efforts with education ministries and communities in countries around the world to improve education in those countries using U.S. bilateral assistance and other private contributions.
This report reflects the deep commitment many Americans have to address personally, and through community, private, and national public organizations, the needs of education for all children in the United States. The report fully recognizes that, in comparison with many other countries, the approach in the United States is not primarily determined by a single federal system of education, but is primarily dependent upon the efforts made at the local community level and at the state level. Thousands of Americans are also engaged in international educational development through private non-governmental organizations and voluntary organizations and with the several agencies of the U.S. government, particularly the United States Agency for International Development and the U.S. Department of Education. Through technical assistance, advisory services, and some level of direct financial support, these agencies support the further development of Education For All in countries around the world.
During this ten-year period since Jomtien, Americans have been engaged in addressing Education For All goals, in collaboration with their colleagues, in more than 50 countries, particularly in Africa, Latin America, and Asia. Also, throughout this period, many in federal, state, and private organizations have participated in the development of comparative studies of education achievement among countries, including the United States, aimed at helping all countries together to address critical needs in education quality and to find new and improved ways to assess progress toward the EFA goals.
I want to express my thanks to my colleagues, Edward Fiske and Barbara O'Grady, the principal authors of this report, and to the members of the Oversight Commission who worked together from both public and private agencies to review drafts of the report. Many of the advisors' ideas and suggestions have been incorporated into the report. However, the Academy for Educational Development takes full responsibility for the perspectives, content, and any errors or omissions in it.
The Academy for Educational Development, as a private, independent, non-governmental and non-profit organization with a mission to improve educational quality and access, is honored to have this opportunity to bring together in this brief volume the experiences and contributions of so many people and institutions related to the important goals of Education For All. Our passage into the year 2000, the start of a new millennium and a new decade, must serve as the stimulus for all of us to join together in continuing to accomplish the goals set at Jomtien and to bring a renewed commitment to them.
Jomtien was a hallmark in establishing the collaboration necessary among public, private, and non-governmental organizations to establish the EFA goals. That same collaboration will continue to be the hallmark and the foundation upon which the accomplishment of these goals and new ones is possible.
Stephen F. Moseley
President and Chief Executive Officer
Academy for Educational DevelopmentU.S. EFA 2000 Assessment Report Oversight Commission
Gordon M. Ambach, Executive Director
Council of Chief State School Officers
Christopher Cross, President
Council for Basic Education
Wadi D. Haddad, President
Knowledge Enterprise, Inc.
C. Kent McGuire, Assistant Secretary, Educational Research and Improvement
U.S. Department of Education
Francis Method, Director
UNESCO Washington, Liaison Office
Stephen F. Moseley
President and Chief Executive Officer
Academy for Educational Development
Emily A. Vargas-Baron
Deputy Assistant Administrator
Center for Human Capacity Development, Global Bureau
U.S. Agency for International Development
Janet Whitla, President
Education Development Center
The authors owe a significant debt of gratitude to many people who contributed to the production of this report. In particular, we wish to acknowledge the eight members of the Oversight Commission, who helped guide the report and were always available, at home or in the office, to read multiple drafts of the text and to offer valuable advice. We are grateful to Eugene Owen of the U.S. Department of Education's National Center for Education Statistics, who so graciously provided hours of his time, locating educational statistics for the core indicators section and reviewing our presentation of them. His colleagues at NCES, especially Patrick Gonzales, were equally generous with their time and information. Don Foster-Gross of the U.S. Agency for International Development participated in Oversight Commission meetings and offered valuable advice about basic education in the developing world.
We owe particular thanks to Kate Pearson, research associate, without whose excellent work gathering and verifying information, analyzing data, and conducting interviews we could not have written this report. Academy for Educational Development staff members volunteered their time to assist in a variety of other ways: Eileen D'Andrea helped produce the bibliography and endnotes; Kaaren Christopherson did proofreading; Juan Carlos Toscano assisted with revisions of the final report; Olivia Marinescu and John Engels helped create charts; and Natalie Buda designed the report cover and layout. Jean Bernard, Academy consultant, copy edited the report. We thank them all for their contributions.
Finally, we wish to thank Stephen F. Moseley, Academy president and CEO, for his insights into EFA and for establishing the Oversight
Commission and funding this report
In March 1990, the World Conference on Education for All was convened in Jomtien, Thailand, to address concerns about the inadequate provision of basic education, especially in developing countries. The conference was attended by 1,500 participants from 155 countries and included representatives from 160 intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations.
Participants in the conference adopted a World Declaration on Education for All that reaffirmed the concept of education as a fundamental human right and urged the nations of the world to intensify their efforts to meet the basic learning needs of all children, youth, and adults. Participants also approved a Framework for Action to Meet Basic Learning Needs that spells out specific targets and strategies for reaching the goal of education for all, or EFA.
The Framework anticipated the need for a ten-year review of progress toward the goal of universal basic education. Consequently, the International Consultative Forum on Education for All (EFA Forum), which was established to follow up the Jomtien Conference, organized the EFA 2000 Assessment. This is a major global effort that will document progress made since 1990, identify priorities and promising strategies for future activities, and promote appropriate changes in national and international plans of action. The Assessment will provide an important basis for discussions at the World Education Forum to be held in Senegal in April 2000.
As part of the Assessment, the EFA Forum has invited each participating country to draft a Country EFA report describing the extent to which it has achieved the goal of universal basic education within its own borders, chronicling its activities in promoting this objective domestically and internationally, and offering thoughts and suggestions regarding appropriate policy directions for the future.
This document constitutes the U.S. EFA 2000 Assessment Report. The report was organized and prepared by the Academy for Educational Development with the oversight of an eight-member Commission made up of representatives of both government and private organizations in the United States. The members of the Commission and their organizations were participants in the 1990 Jomtien meeting and have continued to address education development needs in the United States and/or abroad.
The Academy prepared the report at the request of the EFA Secretariat. The final responsibility for the perspectives and information contained in the report is that of the Academy. While some officials of U.S. Government agencies participated in the Oversight Commission, the report is not an official report of the United States Government. The work was carried out in consultation with numerous experts in the field, including representatives of non-governmental organizations, education associations, and representatives of various United Nations agencies. The principal authors of the report are Edward B. Fiske and Barbara OGrady whose background is described briefly in the Appendix.
United States Follow-up Activities to Jomtien
In the months following Jomtien, a U.S. Coalition for Education for All (USCEFA) was formed in support of the goals of the Framework and as a means of bridging domestic and international education agendas. The board of directors included representatives of the U.S. Department of Education and a number of major professional and research organizations.
USCEFA responded to questions from domestic educators about international education innovations, and it worked with major U.S. organizations, led by the Council of Chief State School Officers, to write standards for an international studies curriculum. USCEFA held three major conferences and produced a newsletter and a number of other publications, among them the first major study on mass media and education, "The Whole World Is Watching: An International Inquiry into Media Involvement in Education." It examined the role and value of informal education through the mass media, documented ways in which educators and media producers could work together to promote policy changes, and explored parental involvement in education.
The original USCEFA Coalition ceased functioning in 1996. In 1997, a new coalition was formed and named the International Education and Training Coalition. This is a broad group of more than 60 non-governmetal organizations that advocate for increased United States investments in the full range of education needs in developing countries.
The report that follows is organized in two parts to reflect the dual engagement of the United States in its own education reform and in education activities aimed at assisting other countries.