The Imperative for Educational Reform
A Report to the Nation
and the Secretary of Education
United States Department of Education
The National Commission on Excellence in Education April 1983
April 26, 1983
Honorable T. H. Bell
Secretary of Education
U.S. Department of Education
Washington, D.C. 20202
Dear Mr. Secretary:
On August 26, 1981, you created the National Commission on Excellence in Education and directed it to present a report on the quality of education in America to you and to the American people by April of 1983.
It has been my privilege to chair this endeavor and on behalf of the members of the Commission it is my pleasure to transmit this report, A Nation at Risk: The Imperative for Educational Reform.
Our purpose has been to help define the problems afflicting American education and to provide solutions, not search for scapegoats. We addressed the main issues as we saw them, but have not attempted to treat the subordinate matters in any detail. We were forthright in our discussions and have been candid in our report regarding both the strengths and weaknesses of American education.
The Commission deeply believes that the problems we have discerned in American education can be both understood and corrected if the people of our country, together with those who have public responsibility in the matter, care enough and are courageous enough to do what is required.
Each member of the Commission appreciates your leadership in having asked this diverse group of persons to examine one of the central issues which will define our Nation's future. We especially welcomed your confidence throughout the course of our deliberations and your anticipation of a report free of political partisanship.
It is our collective and earnest hope that you will continue to provide leadership in this effort by assuring wide dissemination and full discussion of this report, and by encouraging appropriate action throughout the country. We believe that materials compiled by the Commission in the course of its work constitute a major resource for all persons interested in American education.
The other Commissioners and I sincerely appreciate the opportunity to have served our country as members of the National Commission on Excellence in Education, and on their behalf I remain,
David Pierpont Gardner
Members of the National Commission on Excellence in Education David P. Gardner (Chair)
University of Utah and
President-Elect, University of California
Salt Lake City, Utah
Yvonne W. Larsen (Vice-Chair)
San Diego City School Board
San Diego, California
William 0. Baker
Chairman of the Board (Retired)
Bell Telephone Laboratories
Murray Hill, New Jersey
Former Commissioner of Education
State of Nebraska
Emeral A. Crosby
Northern High School
Charles A. Foster, Jr.
Foundation for Teaching Economics
San Francisco, California
Norman C. Francis
Xavier University of Louisiana
New Orleans, Louisiana
A. Bartlett Giamatti
New Haven, Connecticut
Highline Community College
Robert V. Haderlein
National School Boards Association
Mallinckrodt Professor of Physics and
Professor of the History of Science
Annette Y. Kirk
Margaret S. Marston
Virginia State Board of Education
Albert H. Quie
State of Minnesota
St. Paul, Minnesota
Francisco D. Sanchez, Jr....