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ERIC Number: EJ1064157
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2015
Pages: 8
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: N/A
ISSN: ISSN-0148-432X
Escaping the Shadow: "A Nation at Risk" and Its Far-Reaching Influence
Mehta, Jal
American Educator, v39 n2 p20-26, 44 Sum 2015
In 1983, the National Commission on Excellence in Education released its now famous report, "A Nation at Risk," which warned of "a rising tide of mediocrity" in American schooling. Sponsored by the U.S. Department of Education but largely written by a group of prominent academics, "A Nation at Risk" invoked a crisis so far-reaching in its impact that it still governs the way we think about public education 30 years later. Many of our current policies, and the assumptions that underlie those policies, are attributable in significant part to the way in which the report framed the debate. If the next generation of educators are to forge their own path, they will need to get out from under the long shadow of "A Nation at Risk." The report, published years before many young teachers today were even born, was groundbreaking in emphasizing the importance of education to economic competitiveness and the failings of American schooling in comparison with international competitors. It presented a utilitarian and instrumental vision of education, and argued that schools, not society, should be held accountable for higher performance, and that performance should be measured by external testing--assumptions that underlie the state standards movement in the 1980s and 1990s and persist today in federal policy through No Child Left Behind. "A Nation at Risk" has not been ignored in previous accounts of American educational history: it is often cited as a critical document. In this article, the author examines, in more detail than previous work, the creation, rhetoric, and reception of the report, as well as its profound effect.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: Elementary Secondary Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A