Joint statement on the 25th anniversary of “A Nation at Risk”

Publication date: Apr 26, 2008

WASHINGTON (April 26, 2008) -– As we mark the 25th anniversary of “”A Nation at Risk,”” the spotlight is shining everywhere except where it is most needed. We need a clear-eyed accounting of the progress our schools and students have made over the past 25 years, and we need an honest assessment of the unfinished work required to protect the prospects of our young people and our nation into the future.

Instead of purposeful evaluation and planning, one group of commentators is furiously debating whether the Commission got it right when it claimed that the “tide of mediocrity” was getting ““higher”” back in 1983, as opposed to merely “”high.”” Meanwhile, another group argues that without fully and finally eliminating all of the outside-of-school challenges in children’s lives, better schools won’t make much of a difference.

These arguments distract us from attending to what we can and should do right now for our schools and for the students they serve. Yes, too many of our students are growing up under unconscionable conditions. And yes, we must commit ourselves and our nation to ensuring that no American child suffers under the burdens of poverty or racism. But we cannot allow gross inequities outside our schools to excuse gross inequities within our schools because the facts suggest that poor children and children of color can and do learn more when their schools are better.

Our schools now serve children with a more challenging array of needs than ever before. Yet virtually every group of those children – white, black, Latino, Asian, poor, rich – —is achieving at higher levels in most subjects at most grade levels today than they were 25 years ago. In some cases, the achievement gaps which have plagued this country throughout our history are beginning to narrow. That’s solid evidence that strong and committed educators, unwilling to buy into the myths about what some kids can’t do, can make big differences for students, even in the face of daunting outside-of-school circumstances.

But while we’’re doing better, it’’s still not good enough. The rest of the world is outpacing us. Despite our gains, U.S. high school students now rank in the bottom quarter among industrialized nations in mathematics and in the bottom half in science. Our students are fleeing the very disciplines that are the foundation of the knowledge economy.

Even at the college level, where we’’ve led the world for so long, our young adults have dropped to ninth place in attainment of associate’s and bachelor’s degrees. The gaps in college-going between black and Latino students and their white peers are wider now than they were 30 years ago. And for the first time in our history, American young adults are less likely to earn college degrees than are their parents.

We can’’t afford to be distracted by other issues or satisfied with our progress. We can’’t afford to do business as usual. We can’’t afford to continue to ignore the fact that, in the great majority of cases, our schools continue to stack the deck against the success of low-income and students of color.

As Americans we know that education is the best route out of poverty and the surest weapon against racism. But instead of organizing our schools according to our values and the needs of our society, we undermine our most vulnerable students, giving them less of everything that makes for academic success—strong teachers, challenging courses, up-to-date textbooks, functional science labs and college scholarships.

Yes, our students have to work harder. As parents we need to work harder, too, instilling in our children the importance of persistence and effort. But we must also face the reality that schooling in America is out of sync with our long-held national values as well as with the urgent demands of the 21st century.

We strongly reaffirm the Commission’s original call for higher standards, and the efforts since that time to codify those standards and put them to work in American classrooms.

Those standards, however, must be for all students.  As a country, we need all students to achieve at the highest levels.  After all, poor and “minority” students together now comprise about half of our young people.

The Commission got it right when it said that “the twin goals of equity and high-quality schooling have profound and practical meaning for our economy and society, and we cannot permit one to yield to the other either in principle or practice.”

But in 25 years, our country hasn’’t gotten this part right.  Not even close.

Organizations:
AVID Center
California State University System
Citizen Schools
Citizens’’ Commission on Civil Rights
College Summit
Core Knowledge Foundation
The Council for Opportunity in Education
Democrats for Education Reform
Education Reform Now
The Education Trust
League of United Latin American Citizens
Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund (MALDEF)
National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials (NALEO) Educational Fund
The National Coalition of ESEA Title I Parents
National Council of La Raza
The New Teacher Project
Southeast Asia Resource Action Center
The Thomas B. Fordham Foundation

Individual Supporters:

*The undersigned are signed-on as individuals and not as representatives of the organizations for which they work.

Barbara B. Adderley, Instructional Superintendent, District of Columbia Public Schools
Carol Albritton, Teacher Quality Coordinator, New Jersey Department of Education
Brett Alessi, Managing Director – Boston, Education Pioneers, MA
Kimberly Allen, Deputy Associate Superintendent, School Improvement and Intervention, Arizona Department of Education
Dr. Jim Applegate, Vice President for Academic Affairs, KY Council on Postsecondary Education
Dr. Juan Carlos Araque, Vice President, Community Investments, Orange County United Way
Carol Arjona, Secondary Education Director 
Regina Gilchrist Ash, Director of Instruction, Swain County Schools, North Carolina
Trish Barry-Utzig, Behavior Specialist
Dianne M. Bazell, Ph.D. , Assistant Vice President for Academic Affairs , Kentucky Council on Postsecondary Education
Dominic Belmonte, President and CEO, Golden Apple Foundation
Patricia P Benson, Director, Center for Excellence in Education
Patti Bippus, High School Principal, AK
Stephan Blanford, Executive Director, White Center Early Learning Initiative
Judy Bowers, Ed.D., School Counselor Consultant
Liz Brewer, School Counselor
David Britt, Retired CEO, Sesame Workshop, Ed Trust Board Member
Susan Brooks, Former Principal, Lockhart Junior High School, TX
Nevin Brown, President, International Partnership for Service-Learning and Leadership, New York
Rita Brusca-Vega, Associate Professor of Special Education, Purdue University Calumet
Julia Bryan, Ph.D., Professor Counselor Education
Raymond W. Bryant, PhD, Superintendent of Schools, Elmira City School District, NY
Dudley Butts, Superintendent, Agua Fria Union High School District, Avondale, Arizona                                                                                                                                                      Jon Butzon, Executive Director, Charleston Education Network
Glenny Lee C. Buquet, Louisiana Board of Elementary and Secondary Education
Thomas Calhoun, Asst. Dean, Engineering Advising and Diversity Center, University of Washington
Susan Carlson, Executive Director, Arizona Business & Education Coalition
Dr. Mya Caruso, High School Math Teacher
Maria Casillas, President, Families in Schools
Jacqueline Duvivier Castillo, Director of Business and Development, Partnerships to Uplift Communities
Stuart Chen-Hayes, Ph.D., Associate Professor, School Counselor Education Lehman College of the City University of New York, Bronx, NY
Dr. Effie N. Christie, Assistant Professor, Kean University-Department of Educational Leadership
Roderick G. W. Chu, Chancellor Emeritus, Ohio Board of Regents
Jay Chunn, Licensed Clinical Social Worker, DC
Christine Clark, Ed.D., Vice President for Diversity and Inclusion & Professor of Curriculum and Instruction, University of Nevada, Las Vegas
Sally Clausen, President, University of Louisiana System                                                                                                                                                                                                               Terri L. Cole, President and CEO, Greater Albuquerque Chamber of Commerce                                                                                                                                                                      Rose Coleman, Mo Professional Learning Communities, School Resource Specialist                                                                                                                                                             Isabel Mesa Collins, Area 10 Instructional Officer, Chicago Public Schools
M. Diane Cox, PhD, Education Officer, St Louis Public Schools
Saula Cutter, Curriculum Supervisor for Multicultural Studies, Affirmative Action and Desegregation, Hamilton Township Schools

Frances D’Agostino, Math Coach, Scofield Magnet Middle School, CT

Lisa Danielson, MSW/MPA, Project Manager, Special Initiatives, Families In Schools

Angus Davis, Rhode Island Board of Regents for Elementary and Secondary Education

Dr. Carol S. Dean, Curriculum Coordinator
Jami DeBosch, Administrative Intern, Bellerive Elementary, MO

Shauna Deeter, Secondary School Counseling Intern

Lynn Deutsch Ph.D., Clinical Psychologist, Monterey, CA

H. Mitchell D’Olier, President, Harold K.L. Castle Foundation, Kailua, HI

Billie Donegan, Retired Teacher, School Improvement Coach

Wayne Eastman, South Orange-Maplewood New Jersey Board of Education Member

Michael C. Egan, Assistant Professor of Education, Augustana College

Natalie Elder, Principal, Hardy Elementary School, TN

Brittany Emal, National Director of Pipeline Development, New Leaders for New Schools

Linda Emm, Educational Specialist, Miami-Dade County Public Schools

Penny Engel, Assistant Director for Government and External Relations, American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education

June Eressy, Principal, University Park Campus School

Dr. Charles A. Espalin, Director/Professor/Fieldwork Supervisor, School Counseling Program, University of Southern California

Richard/Ricardo Esparza, Principal, Granger High School

Elena Espinoza, SPS Multicultural Liaison

Nadine Finigan, Sr. Research Project Manager, Steppin’ Up

Rosalind Barnes Fowler, Public Awareness Director, University System of Georgia

Marc Frazer, Partner, Education First Consulting

Carrie Furedy, Program Administrator, Curriculum and Assessment, AZ

Robert E. Gallagher, Retired Assistant Superintendent of Instruction, Niagara Wheatfield Schools

Guillaume Gendre, Vice-principal Neil Armstrong Middle School

Brian Gibson, Assistant Principal, Kyrene de los Cerritos

Robert Gira, Executive Vice-President, National Programs, AVID Center

Barbara Golden, Educational Consultant and Non-attorney advocate

Irwin L. Goldstein, Senior Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs, University System of Maryland

David Goodman, Student Services Resource Teacher for Guidance, Brevard Public Schools, Fl.

Freddie Gray, Executive Director, African American Achievement Council of Omaha

Cheryl Greene, Ed.D., Principal, Kyrene de la Esperanza and Executive Director, Voices of Color, L.L.C.

Mary Ellen Guest, Campaign Manager, A+ Illinois

Eric Hadley, MAP St. Louis Regional Instructional Facilitator, University of Missouri–St. Louis

Patricia Hamamoto, Superintendent of Education, Honolulu, HI

Brady Haycock, PsyD, Psychology Resident

Richard L. Hayes, Ed.D., Professor and Dean, College of Education, University of South Alabama

Ralph Headlee, Assistant Superintendent, Medical Lake School District

Ronald J Henry, Provost & Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs, Georgia State University

Julie Hernandez, ESL teacher, University City School District

Lizzie Hetzer, Unlocking the Classroom, Blogspot

Becky Crowe Hill, Executive Director, Partners in School Innovation, CA

Mr. Robin Hom, Superintendent, Chinese Christian Schools, CA

Harvey Hoyo, Ed. D., Lead Faculty, School Counseling, National University

Whitney Hoyt, President, Sausalito Marin City School Board, CA

Kevin R. Hughes, Ph.D., Assistant Director, Office of School Improvement

Tom Huffman, Principal, Verrado High School, Agua Fria School District

Jackie Iloh, Graduate student, University of Maryland, College Park

Holly Irvine, Secondary School Counseling Intern, University of Scranton, Pennsylvania

Bill Jackson, President, GreatSchools

Dr. Robert L. Jarvis, Director of K-12 Outreach and Co-Director, Delaware Valley Minority Student Achievement Consortium; New Jersey Network to Close the Achievement Gap, Penn Center for Educational Leadership

Kathy Jaycox, P-20 Senior Associate, United for Learning: The Hawaii P-20 Initiative

Craig D. Jerald, President, Break the Curve

Cassius O. Johnson, Director, National  & Federal Policy, Jobs for the Future

Susan Jordan, Senior Development Specialist, Portland Public Schools

Alfredo Juarez, Assistant Principal, Eastman Avenue School

Joe Kallas, Area One Instruction Officer, Chicago Public Schools

Jason Kamras, 2005 National Teacher of the Year

William A. Kaplin, Research Professor of Law, The Catholic University of America

Lisa Karmacharya, Ed.D., Executive Director of Federal Programs and Elementary Curriculum, Hattiesburg Public Schools

Lauren Katzman, Associate Professor, Boston University

Rosie E. Kelley, Education Program Specialist, U.S. Dept. of Education, Office of Elementary and Secondary Education (OESE)

Sarah M. Kern Ph.D., Assistant Professor at The College of New Jersey

Adam Kernan-Schloss, President/CEO, KSA-Plus Communications

Epryl King, M.Ed., Elementary Teacher, President, Raising Achievement in Monroeville and Pitcairn (RAMP)

Gina Kilpela, Teacher Specialist, Anne Arundel County Public Schools

Laura Kohn, Executive Director, New School Foundation

Patricia A. Korn, SEL/Gap Specialist

Deborah Kosyla Edwards, LMSW, Title I School and Community Social Worker

Dan Lairon, Principal, Seven Trees School, Franklin-McKinley School District, San Jose, CA

Kelly Langford, President, Tucson Urban League

Juan Francisco Lara, Ph.D., Assistant Vice Chancellor Emeritus, University of California at Irvine

Dr. Doris Lasiter, Principal

Karen Lattin, Director of Career and Technical Education Agua Fria Union High School District, Arizona

Gerry Lauber, Chief Operating Officer, National Urban Alliance

Nancy R. Lawrence, Ph.D., Educational Researcher

Kathleen F. Lemberger, Principal, Washington Jr. High School

Dr. Cynthia A. Lemmerman, Superintendent Fostoria City Schools, Ohio

Noma LeMoine Ph.D., Director, Los Angeles Unified School District, Closing the Achievement Gap Branch

Colleen Lenihan, Research Analyst, Delta Cost Project

Ruth Litman-Block, Director, Virtual Learning Center, Cooperating School Districts, St. Louis

Frank Livoy, Center for Effective School Practices, Rutgers University

James H. Lockhart, Pres. & CEO, The Making and Education Difference Foundation, Inc.

David C. Long, Attorney

Margot Lowenstein, Development Partnerships Manager, New Leaders for New Schools

Dr. Sara Lundquist, Vice President for Student Services, Santa Ana College

Susanne Malmos, Middle School Teacher

Caterina Leone Mannino, Teacher on Assignment, Project Literacy, Rochester City School District

Marguerite Martinez, Principal, Mark Twain Elementary School, Kansas City, KS

Larry P. Mason, Clark County School District School Trustee, Las Vegas Nevada; VP for Diversity/Inclusion, College of Southern Nevada

Dr. Ketrin Saud Maxwell

Donald e McBrien Ph.D,  Associate faculty, Johns Hopkins Univ., Loyola College, Md. Barbara McCloud, Ph.D., Senior Associate, Leadership Programs, Institute for Educational Leadership

Roger McCloughan, New Jersey Department of Education, Office of Career and Technical Education

Mary McConnell, School Improvement Facilitator/Former Principal

Gretchen L. McDowell, Consultant, State Legislation, Illinois PTA

Deandra McKinney, Teacher, Coach; Special Education, Case Manager, Queens NY

Dr. Marge McMackin, Distinguished Educator Program, Pennsylvania Department of Education

Kate McNamee, English Teacher, Central High School, MD.

Dorothy J. Minear, Interim Vice Chancellor for Strategic Initiatives, Board of Governors – State University System of Florida

Mark A Mitrovich PhD, Chief Academic Officer, EDmin.com

Katie Moeller, School Improvement Facilitator, Bureau of School Improvement, Florida Department of Education

Pierre Morgan, Chaplain, Star Academy; Region 3 Board Representative, NCT1C1P

Melissa J. Murphy, University of California at Berkeley Grad Student in Public Health and Social Welfare

Steven F. Murray, Chancellor , Phillips Community College, University of Arkansas

Timothy M. Murrell, Supervisor, Technical Programs, St. Louis Public Schools

Rita Leslie Navarrette, Doctoral Student – Educational Psychology, Catholic University

Karen Nelson, Director of Academic Foundation Initiatives, University of Texas System

Sally Newell, Secondary Director for Curriculum and Instruction Center School District

Leonora Noble, School Improvement Facilitator/Retired Principal, WA

Ann O’Bryan, State Associate in Education Improvement Services

Tanya M. Odom, Ed.M., Senior Global Diversity and Inclusion Consultant

Arturo Pacheco, Professor of Education, EdTrust Board Member

Norma Pacheco, Director of Business Services, Agua Fria Union High School District

Rebecca Parker, PhD, Consultant, California Commission on Teacher Credentialing

Marcela Parra, Ph.D, Assistant Director, West Regional Equity Network

Rosanna Urban Parra, Volunteer Child Advocate in the Houston ISD school system

Nancy Parris, Clinical Social Worker

Elizabeth Parry, Engineer, Project Director, Recognizing Accelerated Math Potential in Underrepresented People (RAMP-UP)

Kathy Payne, Senior Director- Education Leadership, State Farm Insurance

Roberta Peck, Director of Prekindergarten Planning

Mary Ann Petrich, High School Literacy Lead, Kansas City, Kansas Public Schools

Bernard P. Pierorazio, Superintendent, Yonkers Public Schools

Heidi Pierovich, Accountability Coach, Action Learning Systems, Inc., CA

Debbie Pina, Counseling, Estrella Mountain Community College

Linda Powell-McMillan, National Director of Program Development, AVID Center

Brian T. Prescott, Senior Research Analyst, Public Policy and Research

Emily Kalejs Qazilbash, Doctoral student, Harvard Graduate School of Education, MA

Beth Rae, Literacy Coach

E. Vance Randall, Ph.D., Professor of Education Policy, Department of Educational Leadership and Foundations, Brigham Young University

Sanjiv Rao, Director, Policy and Advocacy Leadership Initiative, Teach For America

Carolyn Reynolds, Member, National Coalition of ESEA Title I Parents Board of Directors–Region III

Patrick R. Riccards, Author, Eduflack, President, Exemplar Strategic Communications

William F. Roberts IV, Principal, Los Altos High School

Martha Ortiz Robertson, Math Program Coordinator 7-12, Washoe County School District, Reno NV

Stephanie G. Robinson, Ph. D., Education Advocate

Paul F. Ruiz, PhD, Senior Director, P-16/Outreach, Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board

Adama Sallu, MSW, School Social Worker, Kyrene Centennial Middle School

Maureen Santella, Director of Special Education, New York, NY

Janet M. Schilk, Ph.D., Director, Office of Educational Reform, Ohio Department of Education

Cynthia B. Schmeiser, President and COO, ACT Education Division

Helen Schotanus, Consultant, Primary Education/Reading

Robert F Sexton, Executive Director, Prichard Committee for Academic Excellence, EdTrust Board Member

Arthur D. Sheekey, Project Director, CNAC

James P. Shoffner, Ph.D.,  Past Chair, Chicago Section, American Chemical Society

Kevin Simpson, Global Educational Consultant, KDSL – Know.Do.Serve.Learn

Graciela Slesaransky-Poe, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, Special Education; Director, Arcadia Annual Inclusion Institute

Gail Smartt, Principal, Mark Twain Elementary

Dr. Johnetta E. Smith, Supervisor of Parent Services, Title I Department, MD

Kevin Smith, School Counselor, KY

Roslyn J. Smith, Ph.D., President, Treme Charter School Association, New Orleans, LA

Jose J. Soto, JD, Vice President for AA/Equity/Diversity, Southeast Community College

Dr. Craig Spinks, Retired Special Education Teacher

Laurence B. Stanton, Strategy and Planning Officer, Chicago Public Schools

Willie G. Stevens, Ph.D., Home School Coordinator

Dorothy S. Strang, Teacher, Administrator (retired), Diversity Consultant, MI/RI

Robbin Stratton, High School Counselor, Norfolk,VA

Denise Swanger, Ph.D., Bayless High School Principal

Patricia S. Tate, Ph.D., Director, Office of Laboratory Experiences, George Washington University

Rhonda Taylor, Assistant Principal, Goodman Middle School

Yanil Terón, Executive Director, Connecticut Puerto Rican Forum, Inc

Claudia Thompson, Ed.D, Assistant Superintendent / Learning and Teaching, Peninsula School District

Sharon S. Thorstensen, Title I IRT, Green Holly Elementary School

Casey Thran, Master’s Student, Professional School Counseling, U. of Scranton

Mitch Torina, School Counselor

Danielle Torres, Ph.D, Assistant Professor

Jose M. Torres, Ph.D., Area Instruction Officer, Area 14, Chicago Public Schools

Ursula Tracy, Secondary School Counselor

Jerry Trusty, Professor of Counselor Education, Penn State University

Clem O. Ukaoma, High School Principal

Andrew J. Van Camp II, Professor

Eugenio Vazquez, Director of ELL & Migrant Education, Agua Fria Union High School District

Hortencia Vega, Coordinator for Post-Secondary Guidance & Counseling Programs, Spring Branch ISD, Houston, Texas

Jennifer Vranek, Founding Partner, Education First Consulting

Juanita B. Wade, DC Initiatives Program Manager, Fannie Mae

Karen Waldon, Assistant Superintendent for Leadership Services, Henry County Schools, McDonough, GA

Lisa Walenceus, Executive Director, Learning Generation Initiative, IN

Marina Ballantyne Walne, Ph.D., Executive Director, Institute for Public School Initiatives, University of Texas System

Charles C. Ward, Principal, McKenney Intermediate School, Marysville, CA

Alicia Martin Warren, Educator and graduate student in Counseling Education

Abigail Wentworth, Director, Selection Training, Teach For America

Terri White, Educational Consultant, TWhite & Associates

Belinda J. Wilkerson, Counselor-in-Residence

Roger Wilkins, Professor of History, George Mason University, EdTrust Board Member

Creg E. Williams Ed.D., Superintendent, Thornton Fractional Twp. High School District 215

Gerald R Williams, Professional Development Coordinator, Placer County Office of Education, CA

Stephen Williams, College Counselor, Eagle Rock High School

Lorraine Wise, National Parent Involvement Expert, U.S. Department of Education/Title I

Corliss D. Wood, Administrator, Office of the Dean, Partnerships for Education-Administrator, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee

Dr. Michelle Woodfork, Literacy Coach, Department of Defense Schools, Korea District

Susan K. Woodruff, Professional Developer, University of Kansas Center for Research on Learning

Brooke L. Young, Grant Writer

Pamela Yoder, Instructional Coach

Ernest Zamora, Ph.D., Education Consultant, Austin, Texas

Add your voice! Email us with your name and title and we’ll include you as an individual supporter.

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