Our Schools and Our Future

Our Schools and Our Future

Are We Still at Risk?

Editor: Paul E. Peterson
ISBN: 978-0-8179-3922-9
Publication Date: 2/26/2003
Pages: 338

Twenty years ago, the National Commission on Excellence in Education delivered a shocking report called A Nation at Risk, which awakened millions of Americans to a national crisis in primary and secondary education. But today, while reverberations from that report are still being felt, solid and conclusive reforms in American primary and secondary education remain elusive. Why?

In Our Schools and Our Future, the Koret Task Force on K–12 Education looks at the response to the commission's report and analyzes why it produced so much activity and so little improvement. Among their findings, the members of the task force reveal how many bold reform proposals have been implemented in limited and piecemeal fashion. They conclude that fundamental changes are needed in the incentive structure and power relationships of schooling itself and offer recommendations based in three core principles: accountability, choice, and transparency.

Accountability, they explain, will mean that everyone in the system will know what results are expected, how they will be measured, and what will happen if results are not attained. Choice will bring freedom, diversity, and innovation. Transparency will yield the information needed to assure both top-down accountability and a viable marketplace of methods and ideas. The results of these three taken together, they assert, will be a reinvigorated yet very different system that will rekindle Americans' confidence in public education.


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Paul E. Peterson

Paul E. Peterson is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution and a member of the Koret Task force on K-12 Education. Peterson is the Henry Lee Shattuck Professor of Government and the director of the Program on Education, Policy and Governance at Harvard University. His current research interests include educational policy, federalism, and urban policy, and he is currently evaluating the effectiveness of school voucher plans around the country.

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TABLE OF CONTENTS


Foreword

vii

 

John Raisian

 

Contributors

xi

Preface

xvii

 

Paul E. Peterson

 

 
 

. . . ARE WE STILL AT RISK?

 

Findings and Recommendations

3

 

Koret Task Force on K–12 Education

 

 
 

PART ONE: “A NATION AT RISK”: THEN AND NOW

 

1. A Historic Document

25

 

Diane Ravitch

 

2. Little Gain in Student Achievement

39

 

Paul E. Peterson

 

3. What Has Changed and What Has Not

73

 

Caroline M. Hoxby

 

4. Minority Children at Risk

111

 

Paul Hill, Kacey Guin, and Mary Beth Celio

 

5. The Importance of School Quality

141

 

Eric A. Hanushek

 

 
 

PART TWO: WHY SO LITTLE WAS REFORMED

 

6. The Politics of the Status Quo

177

 

Terry M. Moe

 

7. Teacher Reform Gone Astray

211

 

Chester E. Finn Jr.

 

8. The Curricular Smorgasbord

239

 

Williamson M. Evers and Paul Clopton

 

9. Neglecting the Early Grades

281

 

E. D. Hirsch Jr.

 

 
 

PART THREE: GETTING SERIOUS

 

10. Real Accountability

305

 

Herbert J. Walberg

 

11. Real Choice

329

 

John E. Chubb

 
 

Index

363

 

The Hoover Institution on War, Revolution and Peace, founded at Stanford University in 1919 by Herbert Hoover, who went on to become the thirty-first president of the United States, is an interdisciplinary research center for advanced study on domestic and international affairs.
The views expressed in its publications are entirely those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the staff, officers, or Board of Overseers of the Hoover Institution.

www.hoover.org

Hoover Institution Press Publication No.516

Copyright © 2003 by the Board of Trustees of the Leland Stanford Junior University

All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise, without written permission of the publisher.

First printing 2003

09 08 07 06 05 04 03 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1

Manufactured in the United States of America
The paper used in this publication meets the minimum requirements of American National Standard for Information Sciences—Permanence of Paper for Printed Library Materials, ANSI Z39.48-1984.

Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data
Our schools and our future : are we still at risk? / edited by
Paul E.Peterson ;contributing authors, John E.Chubb ... [et al.]

p.cm.

“An assessment by the Koret Task Force on K–12 Education”—Cover.
ISBN 0-8179-3921-0—ISBN 0-8179-3922-9 (pbk.)
1. Education—United States. 2. Educational change—United States.
I. Peterson, Paul E. II. Chubb, John E.

LA217.2 .O87 2003
370'.973—dc21 2002191907

 



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