After 20 Years of Educational Reform, Progress, But Plenty of Unfinished Business

Carnegie Corporation of New York



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America is still educationally “at risk,” and the “old business” identified so urgently by the National Commission on Excellence in Education in 1983 remains unfinished. Even so, as Vartan Gregorian, president of Carnegie Corporation of New York, has pointed out, “The reform efforts of the last 20 years cannot and should not be perceived as Sisyphean. As a result of these efforts—and the growing body of research on how children learn and what constitutes good teaching—we are clearly not in the same place we were 20 years ago.”

Some of these reform efforts—the National Board of Professional Teaching Standards, the National Center for Education and the Economy, the National Commission on Teaching and America’s Future—are ongoing, and have provided the intellectual leavening for other educational reform activities. Teachers for a New Era, a major intervention in the reform of teacher preparation, holds the promise of revolutionary change in teacher education. These initiatives have helped keep educational reform high on the nation’s political agenda and a topic of impassioned discussion in Congress and in state legislatures, at school board and PTA meetings, and, perhaps most importantly, around kitchen tables throughout America.



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