April 28, 2023 12:02 pm

Gaslighting Americans About Public Schools: The Truth About ‘A Nation at Risk’

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By James Harvey

One of the tragedies around “A Nation at Risk” was not simply that it misdiagnosed the problem and put forth ersatz solutions, but that it refused to face up to the financial implications of its argument. Staff suggestions that there be some budget response to the definition of a national catastrophe were dismissed by university presidents on the commission, perhaps because they were unwilling to see funding for higher education threatened by increased funding for K-12 schools.

James Harvey writes about A Nation at Risk, “Holton’s draft went through 10 revisions as the commission cherry-picked and misinterpreted data to fix the facts in support of its argument. As James W. Guthrie, an academic who admired the report and thought it was on balance a good thing, put it: The commissioners were hellbent on proving that schools were bad. They cooked the books to get what they wanted.”

You can read James Harvey’s piece in the Washington Post here