Magazine November 25, 2019, Issue

The American K–12 Decline

(Caiaimage/Robert Daly/Getty Images)
What to do about falling test results and student rankings?

American education is stumbling, and education reform is running on fumes. Thirty-six years after A Nation at Risk, the searing report by the Reagan-era National Commission on Excellence in Education, achievement scores are flat or sinking. Upon the late-October release of 2019’s National Assessment results, Peggy Carr, associate commissioner of the federal unit responsible for the assessment, stated, “Over the past decade, there has been no progress in either mathematics or reading performance, and the lowest-performing students are doing worse. In fact, over the long term, in reading, the lowest-performing students — those readers who struggle the most — have

Chester E. Finn Jr. — Mr. Finn is the president emeritus of the Thomas B. Fordham Institute and a senior fellow at Stanford’s Hoover Institution.

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