The Final Report's Five Main Emphases
A Nation at Risk stresses "excellence in education;'' accountability; the need for a "Learning Society,'' in which education becomes a lifelong process; and a strong, public commitment to schooling.
Its 40 or so recommendations focused on five areas: stronger content; higher standards and expectations; more time for learning, more effectively used; better prepared, rewarded, and respected teachers; and responsible national, state, and local leadership.
These are the report's five overarching recommendations:
"We recommend that state and local high-school graduation requirements be strengthened and that, at a minimum, all students seeking a diploma be required to lay the foundations in the Five New Basics by taking the following curriculum during their 4 years of high school: (a) 4 years of English; (b) 3 years of mathematics; (c) 3 years of science; (d) 3 years of social studies; and (e) one-half year of computer science. For the college-bound, 2 years of foreign language in high school are strongly recommended in addition to those taken earlier.''
Standards and Expectations
"We recommend that schools, colleges, and universities adopt more rigorous and measurable standards, and higher expectations, for academic performance and student conduct, and that 4-year colleges and universities raise their requirements for admission. This will help students do their best educationally with challenging materials in an environment that supports learning and authentic accomplishment.''
"We recommend that significantly more time be devoted to learning the New Basics. This will require more effective use of the existing school day, a longer school day, or a lengthened school year.''
"This recommendation consists of seven parts. Each is intended to improve the preparation of teachers or to make teaching a more rewarding and respected profession. Each of the seven stands on its own and should not be considered solely as an implementing recommendation.''
Leadership and Fiscal Support
"We recommend that citizens across the nation hold educators and
elected officials responsible for providing the leadership necessary to
achieve these reforms, and that citizens provide the fiscal support and
stability required to bring about the reforms we propose.''