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Fordham Institute Short Film Highlights Education Past, Present, and Future
posted by: Ruthie | April 29, 2013, 06:22 PM   

"If an unfriendly foreign power had attempted to impose on America the mediocre educational performance that exists today, we might as well have viewed it as an act of war," wrote T.H. Bell in the 1983 report, "A Nation At Risk." Now thirty years after this groundbreaking report, the Fordham Institute's video, "A Nation at Risk: Thirty Years Later" discusses progress in education and what lies ahead.

Experts including Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, former Washington, D.C. Public Schools Chancellor Michele Rhee, Fordham Institute President Chester Finn Jr., American Enterprise Institute's Rick Hess, and several former Secretaries of Education speak about the report's impact on both yesterday and today.

One of the video's panelists describes the report as the single most influential document in the history of American education. Before "A Nation at Risk," most Americans thought our country's education system was exceptional. The report was revolutionary because it revealed extreme inequality and deficits in student's learning. The report's call for choice, increased technology use, and common standards was what one panelist said made the report the "biggest wave in a very wavy ocean." The research and arguments continue to raise awareness of the big problems facing our education system.

Today, new initiatives like comprehensive teacher evaluations, Common Core State Standards, greater school choice options, performance pay for educators, and technology programs, all come back to suggestions from this report. It is amazing to see that after three decades, we are still working to implement the researcher's policy plans.

"We're still a nation at risk," said one expert. Even after all of this time, experts agree there is work to be done. "Closing gaps to getting us to a spot of mediocrity isn't going to help us," said Secretary of Education Arne Duncan. "We need to combine equity and excellence. The rest of the world is accelerating quickly and we need to catch up."

Many of the video's speakers agreed that our country is at an educational crossroads. "In thirty years the lack of containment around knowledge will revolutionize schools. On the one hand, it will be bright future for American education," said Former Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings. "On the other hand knowledge will be privatized and the institution we know as public education may be a shadow of its former self."

The video is a candid and balanced assessment of education in America. Click here to watch the full 15 minute video.

What do you think about the video's commentary?

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