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The Quest for Schools That Work

Photo by Gary John Norman / Getty Images

The landmark 1983 report “A Nation at Risk” warned that America was falling behind other nations in education.It claimed that “the educational
foundations of our society are presently being eroded by a rising tide of mediocrity that threatens our very future as a Nation and a people.”

Nearly three decades later, the conversation continues, and education reform efforts morph with the times and changes in leadership (see page 21). Many people wonder: What will it take to make schools work for every child? What do effective schools look like? And what should we be educating children for?

Response asked three observers of the national education landscape — New York Times columnist David Brooks, broadcast journalist Tavis Smiley, and education historian Diane Ravitch — to comment on the challenges in American education. They spoke about the importance of teachers who are passionate and committed to teaching with love, and about signs of hope in American schools. The interviews are here in their entirety.


David Brooks

A Conversation with David Brooks

Interview by Jeffrey Overstreet

Tavis Smiley

A Conversation with Tavis Smiley

Interview by Hannah Notess

Diane Ravitch

A Conversation with Diane Ravitch

Interview by Hannah Notess

Young Students

A Brief History of Education Reform

By Greg Fritzberg, SPU Professor of Education