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Topic: A Nation at Risk: Where Are We Now?
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Jerry P. Becker

Posts: 16,576
Registered: 12/3/04
A Nation at Risk: Where Are We Now?
Posted: Apr 24, 2013 12:56 PM
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From Education Week [American Education's Newspaper of Record],
Wednesday, April 24, 2013, Volume 32, Issue 29, p, 22. See

A Nation at Risk: Where Are We Now?

This week marks the 30th anniversary of the release of A Nation at
Risk by the National Commission on Excellence in Education formed by
U.S. Secretary of Education Terrel H. Bell. [See report at ]
The landmark report declared that "the educational foundations of our
society are presently being eroded by a rising tide of mediocrity
that threatens our very future as a nation and a people." Pointing to
what it said were flagging test scores, diluted curricula, and weak
teacher-preparation programs, among other issues, A Nation at Risk
argued that an "incoherent, outdated patchwork quilt" of instruction
was creating a culture of passive learning in which students could
advance with minimum effort.

The commission recommended "five new basics" for students seeking a
high school diploma: four courses in English, three in mathematics,
three in science, three in social studies, and one-half credit in
computer science. Two courses in foreign language were proposed for
students planning on attending college. Other recommendations
included taking steps to improve teacher quality, allowing for more
classroom time devoted to the new basics, increasing academic rigor,
and raising standards for college admission.

A catalyst for the academic-standards movement, the report was widely
circulated and its findings strongly influenced policymakers and
opinion leaders. But it was not without its detractors. Among the
criticisms leveled against the authors was a lack of attention to K-8
education, a dearth of sourcing for the cited statistics, and a
failure to identify root causes of education problems.
In the first installment of the new OpEducation blog, a panel of five
education thought leaders discusses the impact of A Nation at Risk.
[ ]
[You may have to copy and paste into your browser to get the URL.]
Here is a look at comparative data on selected aspects of American
education over the decades since the report, highlighting academic,
demographic, and other trends.

Designed by: Vanessa Solis, Sumita Bannerjee, Gina Tomko, and Laura Baker
Jerry P. Becker
Dept. of Curriculum & Instruction
Southern Illinois University
625 Wham Drive
Mail Code 4610
Carbondale, IL 62901-4610
Phone: (618) 453-4241 [O]
(618) 457-8903 [H]
Fax: (618) 453-4244

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