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Education Letter to the Editor

The Flawed Diagnosis of ‘A Nation at Risk’

May 08, 2018 1 min read

To the Editor:

Thomas Toch’s call in his April 23 Commentary for turning attention back to “A Nation At Risk” diagnosis 35 years ago fails to reflect the fact that the data in that report have long since been proved to be wrong (“When It Comes to Public Education, the Nation Is Still at Risk”). And, that the approach—more requirements and much more testing and sanctions—was pursued for more than three decades with little success and a great deal of damage, especially to schools serving the students most in need of help.

The bipartisan rejection of No Child Left Behind recognized this failure. We need to support getting and keeping better teachers and reviving civil rights efforts against discrimination, poverty, and the underlying causes of educational inequality.

Gary Orfield


Graduate School of Education

University of California, Los Angeles

Los Angeles, Calif.

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A version of this article appeared in the May 09, 2018 edition of Education Week as The Flawed Diagnosis of ‘A Nation at Risk’