‘A Nation At Risk’ Report Calls For Sweeping Education Changes

1983

The National Commission on Excellence in Education releases “A Nation at Risk,” a report highly critical of the declining performance of students in American public schools. In response, states and local districts adopt initiatives intended to raise student achievement. The federal government supports some of these efforts by focusing public attention on school reform and providing improvement grants. Among other things, the report said: “If an unfriendly power had attempted to impose on America the mediocre educational performance that exists today, we might well have viewed it as an act of war. As it stands, we have allowed this to happen to ourselves. We have even squandered the gains in achievement made in the wake of the Sputnik challenge. Moreover, we have dismantled essential support systems which helped make those gains possible. We have, in effect, been committing an act of unthinking, unilateral educational disarmament.”