ATLANTA -- Georgia districts are waiting to get about $9 million
in federal improvement grants this year, but some educators say
School Superintendent Linda Schrenko isn't helping the state's
cause by slamming national school reform efforts.
In a letter to U.S. Education Secretary Richard Riley, Schrenko
describes the expansion of the federal Goals 2000 program as a
"political correctness crusade" that calls on schools to take
over for incompetent parents and could lead to decreased
emphasis on the basics.
Schrenko wanted to send her missive with the state's
application for about $9 million in federal funding under the
Goals 2000: Educate America Act.
However, the state School Board objected, so she decided to
send it separately.
"This time last year, I was the one saying I was not so sure
about this money. This year, I'm ready to go forward," Schrenko
"The longer we delay, the longer it will take the systems to
get their money."
The board put off deciding whether to apply for the money until
this week because members wanted to know how the districts spent
a $2.3 million Goals 2000 grant last year.
However, the superintendent's harsh critique of Goals 2000 also
"The letter was a red flag. It struck me as very partisan,"
said Barbara Christmas, director of the Professional Association
of Georgia Educators and a member of the state School
"I certainly would not send an inflammatory letter with an
application for grant funding. In the normal grant process, it
could jeopardize funding."
Even those who agree with Schrenko philosophically questioned
"I would not have been that antagonistic," said Christian
Coalition activist Linda Hamrick, who also serves on the
Schrenko's letter to Riley voices a common concern among
conservatives that Goals 2000 is an attempt to expand federal
power over schools by implementing politically slanted
President Clinton has called for spending $491 million next
year on Goals 2000, which is aimed at prodding states to make
changes in education. Republicans who run Congress want to slash
spending for the program.
Last year, four states refused Goals 2000 money. Schrenko
accepted the grant, but expressed distaste for the federal
In her letter to Riley this year, Schrenko wrote that Congress
has eroded the original goals proposed by governors during the
Bush administration by expanding them to placate teachers'
unions and the national Parent Teacher Association. …