Still at Risk
What Students Don't Know, Even Now

Download file Click here to view the full text of this Common Core report as an Adobe Acrobat PDF.

This report documents continuing weaknesses in our students' knowledge of history and literature. We think it likely that similar surveys would show large gaps in our students' knowledge of many of the liberal arts and sciences, including civics, science, languages, and arts. This is unacceptable. We believe, as do most concerned citizens, that our schools must teach our students the great ideas, controversies, and events that have shaped our nation as well as the skills needed for life in our democratic society. We believe that such knowledge is essential in preparing for postsecondary education, for the modern workplace, for informed understanding, and for civic participation.

Today, the nation is in thrall with testing and basic skills. We think this is a mistake. Common Core's goal in sponsoring this report and in launching a new organization devoted to promoting the liberal arts and sciences is to set forth a richer vision of what education must be for all of our children.

Twenty-five years ago, the landmark report A Nation at Risk was published by the federal government. The report called for "excellence in education" and recommended a renewed emphasis on a strong curriculum for all students. It specifically proposed that all high school students seeking a diploma should study at least four years of English, three years of mathematics, three years of science, three years of social studies, and one-half year of computer science; in addition, those who were college-bound were urged to study at least two years of a foreign language.

In 1983, the report set off a national discussion and launched what was then called "the excellence movement." This movement was devoted to strengthening the curriculum by ensuring that the content of what was studied was coherent, substantive, and meaningful. For a time, there was extended discussion about how to deepen the study of history, what literature to teach, how to relate the curriculum to the nation's changing demography, and how to engage more students in the study of mathematics and science. In response to this challenge, a few states developed solid, content-rich curriculum frameworks in history and literature (notably California in history and Massachusetts in both history and literature). The history frameworks in these states identified a sequence of topics and ideas for teachers to follow, knowing that their work would build on the previous year of study; the literature framework in Massachusetts identified specific classic and contemporary authors whose work was worthy of study. . . .

Download file Click here to view the full text of this Common Core report as an Adobe Acrobat PDF.

Frederick M. Hess is a resident scholar and the director of education policy studies at AEI.

Also Visit
AEIdeas Blog The American Magazine
About the Author

 

Frederick M.
Hess

What's new on AEI

Making Ryan's tax plan smarter
image The teacher evaluation confronts the future
image How to reform the US immigration system
image Inversion hysteria
AEI on Facebook
Events Calendar
  • 01
    MON
  • 02
    TUE
  • 03
    WED
  • 04
    THU
  • 05
    FRI
Wednesday, September 03, 2014 | 9:00 a.m. – 10:30 a.m.
From anarchy to Augustus: Lessons on dealing with disorder, from Rome’s first emperor

We invite you to join us for two panel discussions on how Augustus created order from chaos 2,000 years ago, and what makes for durable domestic and international political systems in the 21st century.

Wednesday, September 03, 2014 | 12:00 p.m. – 1:30 p.m.
Multiple choice: Expanding opportunity through innovation in K–12 education

Please join us for a book launch event and panel discussion about how a marketplace of education options can help today's students succeed in tomorrow's economy. Attendees will receive a complimentary copy of the featured book.

Thursday, September 04, 2014 | 12:00 p.m. – 1:30 p.m.
How conservatives can save the safety net

Please join us for a luncheon event in which our panel will discuss what conservatives can learn from how liberals talk and think about the safety net and where free-market economics, federalism, and social responsibility intersect to lift people out of poverty.

No events scheduled this day.
No events scheduled this day.
No events scheduled this day.
No events scheduled this day.
No events scheduled today.
No events scheduled this day.