Public Rhetoric, Public Responsibility, and The Public Schools
There are vital relationships between public rhetoric and public policy in a democratic society, and I fear that current public rhetoric about public education does not serve us well.
Consider three recent reports: “Rising Above the Gathering Storm,” “America’s Perfect Storm: Three Forces Changing Our Nation’s Future,” and “Tough Choices or Tough Times: The Report of the New Commission on the Skills of the American Workforce.” They are very different reports, in sponsorship, authorship, and focus. All advance findings and policy suggestions worth considering. What matters here, however, is that all are dire in tone and substance.
Each report argues that our nation is in peril because our educational institutions are failing to prepare workers who can compete with workers in other nations. With logics derived primarily from economics, they insist that we are even more in danger today than we were in 1983, when another alarming report, A Nation at Risk , appeared. Despite nearly 25 years of sustained efforts at improvement, according to these documents, the public schools have failed both the children and the nation they...
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