25 Years On, A Nation Still at Risk

ED in '08

From ED in ’08:

This week marks the 25th anniversary of the release of the landmark education report, A Nation at Risk, which warned that America’s weak education system was undermining American prosperity, security and society.

Their report A Stagnant Nation: Why American Students are Still at Risk is a must-read:

A Stagnant Nation: Why American Students are Still at Risk shows the lack of progress in the school reform movement since the 1983 release of the National Commission on Excellence in Education’s letter to the American people, A Nation at Risk.

ED in 08’s report card explains that key recommendations related to time, teaching and standards have yet to be realized.

I’m impressed – ED in ’08 is really starting to turn things around.

The prescriptions and clarion calls sounded in A Nation at Risk have gone largely unheeded. The report wasn’t perfect, but it identified successfully many of the ills that spent 25 more years further eroding public education.

There are several reasons why Risk didn’t take root immediately – labor interests, teacher education programs, perceptions of and measures of accountability, etc. And, some would argue, a generation has been lost as a result of this failure.

That can’t be helped at this point.

But now we can look to the past, present and future – we really do have a rare opportunity to do this sensibly – and get on with things. We can think about what teaching is and what it should be; we can look at the present economy and match humanistic education with business needs; we can utilize the data/information that our best policy minds wield, mix it up with what history has shown us and work up a plan.

Or, of course, we can do nothing and embrace even more strongly the delusion that we’re doing a wonderful job simply because we’re compassionate, caring and committed to education. That’s worked poorly for 25 years, though.

For some other worthwhile takes on the 25 years since A Nation at Risk debuted, peep the following:

Newsweek: Still at Risk

Fordham’s Chester Finn

George Will: Education Lessons We Left Behind

Ed Sector’s Kevin Carey on George Will’s Commentary

Going to the Mat: A Nation at Risk Turns 25

6 Responses to “25 Years On, A Nation Still at Risk”

  1. A number of bloggers were invited to the Ed in 08 astroturf initiative, but only a few were willing to listen to Rush Limbaugh’s luncheon address.

    Those that stayed away made the right call. This report is nothing more than a retread of the same old tired agenda: more classes, more basic subjects, more testing, and bash the teachers’ unions.

    Never mind that this agenda bears no resemblance to the policies being pursued by the nations that have better educational outcomes. The policy is ideologically sound, so it must be right.

    The one part that the report got right was that the problems with education in the United States are politically based. Perhaps it’s time that the People With an Agenda stopped trying to indoctrinate the nation’s children, and let teachers and school districts get on with the task of teaching.

    A focus on social equity, education based on student interests, local control, and high salaries for teachers: *these* are the things that other countries are doing. These play no part in the ED in 08 agenda. ED in 08 is an agenda for failure.

  2. Stephen,

    I’m not trying to antagonize you here purposely, but you’re wrong about quite a lot in this comment.

    First, the report released by ED in ’08 is a different thing than their Blogger Summit that will take place in the middle of May. Rush Limbaugh is not on the agenda for that event – nor would there be a good reason to have invited him.

    You must be confusing him with Newt Gingrich. While both are right of center, they are, in fact, very different people with wholly different CVs.

    You also didn’t address the specifics of the ED in ’08 report – much like you didn’t mention any specifics in your last comment – despite having direct links to all three parts.

    I appreciate talking about issues on which I differ with others, but I also expect those people to be informed and debating in good faith.

  3. Right. Sorry. I thought I typed ‘Newt’ but typed ‘Rush’ by mistake. Too early in the morning…

    I did mention specifics: “retread of the same old tired agenda: more classes, more basic subjects, more testing, and bash the teachers’ unions.” All of these are in the report.

    And I am well aware that a report is different from a summit. But they are part of the same astroturf initiative.

  4. Bryan,

    Apology accepted.

    Oh, my fault, Stephen – I thought you were Bryan Adams. Like every American who is right of center is the same to you, all Canadians are the same to me! Haha!

  5. To those it may concern…

    To echo a statement above in this blog, I agree that ED in 08 could be an agenda for failure.


    Paromita S. Adhikari

  6. For better or worse, ED in ’08 is a non-partisan group working to increase the visibility of the education debate.

    ED in ’08 isn’t as agenda-driven as Bryan suggests.

    This report is a look at how we have/haven’t worked toward solving the issues addressed in A Nation at Risk. At least read the Executive Summary and press release – it’s only 5 or so pages combined, and will clear up the misunderstanding.

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