FirstEval-Melissa Kovacs


“A Nation at Risk” Anniversary

This week is the 30-year anniversary of a critical education report, “A Nation at Risk.”  This report informed much thought and research, and inspired some national conversations on education standards.  But what has changed in the last 30 years?  Education Week has a great graphicon with some stunning stats:

  • Poverty rates among children are generally unchanged;
  • Adjusted to 2010 dollars, teacher salaries remain generally unchanged;
  • NAEP reading and math scores have incrementally increased;

Has anything changed?

  • Public confidence in public schools has decreased by 10 percentage points in the last 30 years;
  • High school graduation rates have gone from 6.4% in 1900 to 50.8% in 1940, to a high of 77% in 1970, to 72.7% for the Class of 2009;
  • High school graduates are taking more and more rigorous courses, and graduating with more credit hours.

Whether we have lived up to being a “rising tide of mediocrity” that threatens our nation and erodes our educational foundation, one thing is certain – discourse surrounding educational standards is not new. 

Where Are We Now: Looking at "A Nation at Risk," 30 years later


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