Nation at Risk. Goals 2000. No Child Left Behind. Common Core. Another decade, another trillion dollars, another bold approach. Twenty-five years ago our cover story, “Straightening Out American Education,” graphically and graphite-ly showed the crooked path our nation’s schools were on, and little has changed since then but the nomenclature and the number of zeroes on budget lines.
The last five years alone of back-to-school issues show the continuing decline. In 2009 we showed how Christian urban schools faced financial hard times. In 2010 we described failing schools and a moving documentary, The Lottery, that showed student and parent frustration. In 2011 a “Money for nothing” story pinched educational fat and a “Looking for integrity” article showed how educational administrators cheated on tests.
The continuing stream of bad news got to us, so in 2012 and 2013 we looked harder for the good: Christians joining Teach for America, the continued growth of homeschooling, and the survival of Christian schools. We’ve also, of course, covered the continuing leftward tilt of the National Education Association, the new science curricula that promote Darwinism and diminish local control, and the movement at some colleges to ban Christian groups.
This issue reflects the mixed bag of education news. We start with the latest “new and improved” public-school panaceas—Common Core, online classes—and then look at how Christians in one big city are trying to be a blessing to students in a poor public school. We report on hopes for school choice and Christian schools in Texas and China and compare new attacks on homeschooling with reality. We conclude with a story on new alternatives to massive student loans.