James Harvey: How We Cooked the Books to Produce a Deeply Flawed “A Nation at Risk”

James Harvey, a member of the staff that wrote what ended up being called “A Nation at Risk”, reveals why/how our government in 1983, declared war on OUR public schools, our teachers, our family values, and our children.

A war that has made some wealthy while letting our schools rot, and turned our public schools into a Ukrainian battle field, under endless attack.

“The bumbling began immediately,” Harvey writes, when “Reagan startled the commission members by hailing their call for prayer in the schools, school vouchers, and the abolition of the Department of Education.”

Cherry Picking the Facts — Cooking the Books

“There were at least three problems with what the commission finally produced. First, it settled on its conclusions and then selected evidence to support them. Second, its argument was based on shockingly shoddy logic. And third, it proposed a curricular response that ignored the complexity of American life and the economic and racial divisions within the United States.” …

Diane Ravitch's blog

This is the 40th anniversary of the Reagan-era report called “A Nation at Risk.” The report was immediately hailed as a “landmark,” blasting the quality of the nation’s public schools. President Reagan wanted the report to endorse school prayer and vouchers. It didn’t. But it castigated the nation’s public schools as failures and complained about their low standards and mediocrity. The report had a dramatic effect. States reacted with commissions and plans to raise standards and toughen tests.

James Harvey, a member of the staff that wrote the report, argues that the misleading rhetoric, diagnosis, and recommendations of the “Nation at Risk” report led to an obsession with test scores, undermined vocational education, and cemented the simplistic mindset that produced “No Child Left Behind” and “Race to the Top,” while ignoring the serious social and economic conditions that hinder children’s lives. Even today’s culture wars targeting the schools can be…

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