A Nation At Risk +40: New Hoover Institution Research Initiative to Analyze Impact of Four Decades of School Reform

The 74 is partnering with Stanford’s policy think tank to share new insights on how the education system has (and hasn’t) changed since 1983 report.


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Today, The 74 is partnering with Stanford University’s Hoover Institution to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the ‘A Nation At Risk’ report. Hoover’s A Nation At Risk +40 research initiative spotlights insights and analysis from experts, educators and policymakers as to what evidence shows about the broader impact of 40 years of education reform and how America’s school system has (and hasn’t) changed since the groundbreaking 1983 report. In the coming months, we’ll syndicate highlights from the initiative (see the full publication here); read below for the full announcement unveiling the project. 

In 1983, the release of the groundbreaking A Nation at Risk report ignited a nationwide movement for educational reform. Marking the 40th anniversary of this pivotal moment, A Nation at Risk +40 sets out to delve deeper into the reforms that have shaped the modern education landscape. This research initiative aims to draw valuable insights, examine the evidence of reform impact, and offer lessons for today’s education policymakers.

The series, now available for download here, features an array of distinguished authors, each dedicated to exploring critical aspects of school reform. By examining key questions, they seek to shed light on the path taken by education systems nationwide:

  • What kinds of reforms have been attempted and why?
  • What is the evidence of their impact?
  • What are the lessons for today’s education policymakers?

“Education is the cornerstone of a thriving society, and for the past four decades, we have witnessed a tireless pursuit of reform to ensure our education system is stronger and more resilient. A Nation at Risk +40 illuminates where we have come since the groundbreaking report of 1983, offering invaluable insights and evidence-based practices for navigating today’s challenges,” said Hoover Institution Director Condoleezza Rice. “This research initiative serves as a guiding light, empowering policymakers, educators, and stakeholders to safeguard the future of American education.” 

The authors of A Nation at Risk +40 have undertaken extensive research, bringing expertise from diverse fields, including education, policy, and academia. Their collective efforts culminate in a rich tapestry of insights, aiming to inform and guide the decisions of policymakers, educators, and stakeholders in the education sector.

Against the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, with schools across the United States facing unprecedented challenges, A Nation at Risk +40 offers more than a retrospective analysis. The series also provides relevant and research-driven guidance for navigating the current landscape and crafting strategies for a stronger, more resilient education system.

As the nation grapples with the educational effects of the pandemic, A Nation at Risk +40 bears witness to four decades of reform striving to improve education outcomes. By documenting this journey and distilling its wisdom, the series illuminates a path forward rooted in evidence-based practices and a commitment to safeguarding the future of American education.

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