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In the mid-1980s the condition of schools in the United States became a major issue Some educators reacted angrily or defensively to the sudden scrutiny of the institution for which they were responsible They treated this new concern for the schools as attacks on them Others realized that this should be the time to initiate some long-overdue reforms in the way schools function They also thought this could be the chance to build public support for better education According to the Education Standards Issues and Controversies on File from June 27 1997 Most educators agree that measuring and improving students academic performance is difficult if not impossible with out setting some kind of academic standards In setting these standards for each grade level it tells teachers what students are expected to learn The June 27 1997 Issues and Controversies on File also stated that Most educators also believe that for students to be effective students knowledge must be regularly testedDuring the late 1950s and early 1960s educators shifted their focus from meeting the needs of the whole child to excellence Programs were developed to identify talented youth at an early age to speed up their way through rigorous courses in high school and college At the level of the individual learner excellence means performing on the boundary of individual ability in ways that test and push back personal limits in school and at work Excellence also characterizes a school or college that sets high expectations and goals for all learners then tries in every way possible to help students reach them American schools and colleges must be committed to achieving excellence in both of these senses A Nation at Risk was released in April 1983 It was a report put out by the Education Department to define the problems afflicting American education and to provide solutions A Nation at Risk showed the statistics of Americans risks in education Some of these were International comparisons
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