Attack on Public Schools

Has the education 'crisis' been overstated?


Headlines raise what seem to be unceasing alarms about plummeting test scores, illiterate high school graduates and wasted tax dollars. In the 13 years since the federal A Nation at Risk report warned of rising school mediocrity, parents and educators have seized on a rash of reforms and alternatives ranging from national standards and private management to school choice, charter schools and home schooling. But a growing number of scholars and public school advocates recently have questioned whether the “crisis” really exists. They complain that data pointing to failing schools often has been distorted by critics, some of whom seek to build taxpayer support for private schools. Such charges, the critics counter, represent the education establishment in a state of denial.

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