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Home » Issues » Standards & Testing » A Nation At Risk — 30 Years Later

A Nation At Risk — 30 Years Later

a manifesto by CER President Jeanne Allen

April 26, 2013 marks the 30 year anniversary of one of the education reform movement’s most influential reports, A Nation At Risk. With an unprecedented urgency, the 1983 report called for Americans to reverse the course of a crumbling U.S. education system plagued by “a rising tide of mediocrity that threatens our very future as a Nation and a people. If an unfriendly foreign 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.”

Now, thirty years after this grave warning, we still have an education system where students graduate without even basic literacy skills. So where do we go from here?

The commission that wrote A Nation At Risk believed our educational woes could be solved 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.” Education reform has become a commonplace term in American society, but what’s needed is for it to become a commonplace action. Let’s take action and answer this wake-up call poised to us in A Nation At Risk by vowing to no longer accept mediocrity in our schools, and together we can accelerate the pace of education reform.

In the News

‘Nation at Risk’ warnings about shortcomings in US education 30 years ago still resonate today
Washington Post, April 24, 2013


“If there’s a bottom line, it’s that we’re spending twice as much money on education as we did in ‘83 and the results haven’t changed all that much.” —William Bennett