The More Things Change...

September 23, 2008 1 min read

The editors here at Ed Week like us to have a sense of history and context when we write about school reform. Each week a copy of the front page from the newspaper’s archives is hung on the wall next to the editorial-floor refrigerator, so everyone is certain to see it.

The long-ago headlines often elicit double takes, and perhaps a chuckle or two. I usually have to scan the publication date for a reminder of when the article was written because most of the time the news touted in the headlines could make it in the paper today.

Hanging up this week, the Sept. 21, 1983, front page from Education Week, for example, reports:

—"Carnegie Report Offers High School Reform Plan: Calls for New ‘Core Curriculum,’ Student Service”

—"Science Panel’s Work Elicits Praise but Uncertainty on Costs”

Even this one wouldn’t be far-fetched:

—"Use of Suspect Beef in Schools is Alleged

That first story, written by then staff writer Thomas Toch, who is now a co-director of Education Sector, a Washington think tank, describes a study by Ernest Boyer that recommends, among other things, that the SAT college-entrance exam be abandoned in favor of “a more effective assessment and guidance program” that would offer a “more realistic portrait of what students have learned in high school. Sounds pretty familiar to me.

In fact, sounds just like a story about a report on the SAT and ACT that I wrote yesterday. The high school reform, core curriculum, and student-service topics could also have been ripped from recent headlines.

A version of this news article first appeared in the Curriculum Matters blog.