The American people consistently rank education among their top national priorities. A sound education is widely recognized as essential to securing a good job and becoming a responsible and contributing citizen. National goals were set in 1990 to focus the efforts of governments, educators, and parents and communities on education reforms to ensure that all children achieve to high education standards and obtain the necessary skills for achievement as adults.
In response, states and local communities, as well as the Department of Education, implemented programs and initiatives supporting education reform. After taking stock of national progress toward the goals, President Clinton announced his "Call to Action for American Education" in February 1997. The Call to Action identified critical areas where work was still needed; the Department has developed seven priorities to help focus our efforts on accomplishing the goals.
As required by the Government Performance and Results Act of 1993, the Department has now prepared a strategic plan for 1998-2002. This plan reflects the Department's seven priorities and integrates them with our mission and program authorities. The strategic plan will help us direct our resources, strengthen coordination within the Department and across federal agencies, eliminate duplication of programs and services, use technology to perform our work more efficiently and accurately, and communicate more effectively with those we serve and our partners in the education enterprise. The strategic plan is not a static document-it will change in response to feedback from stakeholders and customers, assessment of our performance, emerging national needs, and new legislation.
Although not required under the 1993 Results Act, performance indicators are included in this plan. Using the indicators will hold us accountable for results, and we are fully committed to implementing a comprehensive performance measurement system throughout the Department. We will use the strategic plan as a basis for reporting to Congress and the public on our progress. In doing so, we hope to demonstrate to the taxpayers that our nation's resources are being invested and managed wisely in order to achieve educational excellence.
As we prepare for a new century, the Department of Education is working with states and schools to adopt new and more effective strategies for teaching and learning. Similarly, the Department must adopt better ways of working in order to better meet the needs of families, students, communities, schools, and states. This document sets forth our goals for improvement and our plans for meeting them.
Richard W. Riley|
Secretary of Education
Marshall S. Smith