Nation at Risk
The Next Generation
April 23, 2003
For the 20th anniversary of A Nation at Risk, a report whose martial rhetoric and warnings of academic mediocrity have reverberated throughout education policymaking for nearly a generation, Education Week looks more closely at teenagers' views on what's wrong—and what's right—with the nation's public high schools.
- Federal Nation at Risk: The Next GenerationTwenty years ago this week, the National Commission on Excellence in Education issued a rallying cry for raising expectations and improving performance in American schools—and part of its message was addressed directly to students. For the 20th Anniversary of A Nation at Risk, Education Week looks more closely at teenagers' views on what's wrong—and what's right—with the nation's public schools.Federal Skating ByShiny blue banners are draped proudly above the gymnasium bleachers at South Burlington High School. They list the names of every valedictorian in the school's 42-year history, granting those stellar students an immortal status within the red-brick building. Across the gym hang smaller banners honoring the school's most successful boys' and girls' basketball teams.Federal Commission Member Suggests Education in U.S. Still at RiskAn interview with Gerald Holton, professor emeritus of physics and of the history of science at Harvard University and a member of the National Commission on Excellence in Education.Federal Standing OutFrom the outside, Incline High School looks pretty much as it did when I graduated in 1981. A rugged moat of pine trees still rings the three-story, red-brick building. And the snowy mountain peaks that kindled so many daydreams continue to loom in the background against an azure Sierra sky.Federal Quantity of Coursework Rises Since 1983Two decades after the publication of A Nation at Risk, students are taking more academic courses than before. But research shows it's the level and quality of courses that count, and by those standards, significant gaps remain. Includes: "Students: Small Schools Challenging."