Spring 2003 / Vol. 3, No. 2
Lincoln taught himself the three R’s and more
School Choice Tradeoffs: Liberty, Equity, and Diversity by By R. Kenneth Godwin and Frank R. Kemerer University of Texas Press, 2002, $29.95; 315 pages. America lacks a theory that would explain how its current system of public schooling could function at an acceptable level. Such a theory would describe how the several components of schooling finances, administration, curriculum, teaching, […]
Gymnastics of the Mind: Greek Education in Hellenistic and Roman Egypt by Raffaella Cribiore Princeton University Press, 2001, $39.50; 288 pages. In Rome, toward the end of the 1st century C.E., Quintus Sulpicius Maximus, an 11-year-old boy, won honorable mention in a poetry contest by improvising some 43 verses in ancient Greek on a mythological […]
In 1983, a blue-ribbon education commission appointed by Ronald Reagan’s first Secretary of Education, Terrel H. Bell, announced that America’s “educational institutions seem to have lost sight of the basic purposes of schooling, and of the high expectations and disciplined effort needed to attain them.” In its report, A Nation at Risk, the National Commission […]
Increased economic growth, fueled by improvements in student performance, might have funded the nation’s entire K–12 education budget by now
Photograph by Stephanie Kuykendal. A Nation at Risk‘s most fatal flaw was its faith in the American education system’s ability to act on its recommendations. The authors of Risk believed that the system was mainly in need of internal reforms: tougher coursework and graduation requirements, higher and more flexible salaries for teachers, a longer school […]
Illustration by Stuart Bradford. A Nation at Risk foreshadowed the modern accountability movement. While the word “accountability” never appears in Risk, its call for higher academic standards and its focus on student achievement as the main barometer of quality laid the intellectual groundwork for the rigorous curricula and tests envisioned by the promoters of standards-based […]
The effort to push underprepared students into academic courses has driven the rigor out of many textbooks and classrooms
A Nation at Risk emphasized the importance of learning so-called “higher-order skills” in the early grades. But even chess grand masters need to learn the basics first.
The authors of A Nation at Risk recognized a fundamental truth of education: that reforms, if they are to be successful, must reach into education’s inner sanctum, the classroom.
Assessments of the state of American education on the 20th anniversary of the A Nation at Risk report
“It is high time that we commit the full resources required to improve every school in America, so that every child is at grade level or above”
It will take prolonged effort and more than just school reforms to boost student achievement