A Nation at Risk
The Imperative for Educational Reform
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A Nation at Risk created the present-day sense that American schools are failing, and generated many education reform efforts since the report was published in ‘83. A Nation at Risk assessed the quality of teaching and learning at the elementary, high school, and college levels and compared American schools with those of “advanced” nations. It reported that America’s educational system was failing to meet the national need for a competitive workforce.
“An open letter to the American people,” the A Nation at Risk called for elected officials, educators, parents, and students to reform a public school system that was “in urgent need of improvement.” The need for improvement was based on numerous statistics listed in the report that the commission said showed the inadequate quality of American education. A Nation at Risk cautioned that America was at “risk” and expressed grave concern that our “once unchallenged pre-eminence in commerce, industry, science, and technological innovation is being overtaken by competitors throughout the world.” * The Risk; In order for Americans “to keep and improve on the slim competitive edge (we had to) dedicate ourselves to the reform of our educational system for the benefit of” democracy and the progress of society itself. (page 7) * Indicators of the Risk; “For the first time in the history of our country, the educational skills of one generation will not surpass, will not equal, will not even approach, those of their parents. (page 9) * Hope and Frustration; “More and more young people emerge from high school ready neither for college nor for work. This predicament becomes more acute as the knowledge base continues its rapid expansion, the number of traditional jobs shrinks, and new jobs demand greater sophistication and preparation” (page 10). * Excellence in Education; “We do not believe that a...
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