Education Letter to the Editor

Criticism, and Some Praise, of A Nation at Risk Coverage

May 11, 2009 1 min read

To the Editor:

Clearly the public schools have failed. Your April 22, 2009, issue contains the second installment of articles this year recounting the 25th anniversary of A Nation at Risk, which told us so. A Nation at Risk appeared in 1983. This is 2009. Unless I was mistaught, or Education Week is using something different than the usual base-10 system, that’s 26 years, not 25.

The appearance of these articles does raise a serious political issue, however: Why is Education Week accepting money from the Eli and Edythe Broad Foundation to cover an event that happened 26 years ago? A look back at stories from this time in 2008 shows coverage of the 25th anniversary. So I ask, what is going on?

That said, Ronald A. Wolk remains one of the most cogent commentators on our educational condition, and his essay “Why We’re Still ‘At Risk’ ” shows it. That makes it all the sadder that each day, in every way, Diane Ravitch’s observation seems increasingly true: In education, Barack Obama is a third term for George W. Bush, and Arne Duncan is Margaret Spellings in drag.

Gerald W. Bracey

Port Townsend, Wash.

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A version of this article appeared in the May 13, 2009 edition of Education Week as Criticism, and Some Praise, of A Nation at Risk Coverage