Very few government reports have had the staying power of "A Nation At Risk," which appeared 35 years ago this month and stoked widespread concerns about the quality of American schools.
"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 as a people," the authors thundered in one of its best-known passages.
When it appeared in April 1983, the report received widespread coverage on radio and TV. President Reagan joined the co-authors in a series of public hearings around the country.
The report's narrative of failing schools — students being out-competed internationally and declining educational standards — persists, and has become an entrenched part of the debate over education in the U.S.
Prudence Carter, the dean of the Graduate School of Education at the University of California, Berkeley, teaches her students that "A Nation At Risk" was a "pivotal moment" in education policy — the beginning of a "moment of angst" about the state of the nation's schools.