In April of 1983, the Ronald Regan-appointed National Commission on Excellence in Education released a landmark study, “A Nation at Risk: The Imperative for Educational Reform,” which diagnosed the ills of American education and set forth a list of prescriptions for fixing what seemed to be flailing educational system. It’s been twenty-five years now since the report. So how are we doing? And what, if anything, should we be doing differently? These are the questions we’ll be asking in this month’s edition of Cato Unbound, “Can the Schools Be Fixed?”
This month’s lead essay comes from Richard Rothstein, a former national educational columnist for the New York Times and research associate of the Economic Policy Institute, who offers a fresh, critical assessment of “A Nation at Risk” and the lessons we can draw from its fate. The public schools aren’t as bad as many think, Rothstein argues, and the report oversold the importance of the education system for America’s economic competitiveness and success.
Today, Michael Strong, co-founder of FLOW, education entrepreneur, and former charter school principal, chimes in with a stirring brief for the freedom to innovate in education.
Stay tuned for contributions from Sol Stern, a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute who recently made waves with his article “School Choice Isn’t Enough,” and from Frederick Hess, the director of Education Policy Studies at the American Enterprise Institute.
If that’s not enough for all you education reform junkies, be sure to tune in to next week’s Cato forum on “Markets vs. Standards: Debating the Future of American Education.” You’ll learn something.