Special Report: American Schools in Crisis

Contact: Allie Curry
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Schools in Crisis

Indianapolis (August 26, 2013) — As children around the country head back to school, the September/October 2013 issue of The Saturday Evening Post examines what is going wrong with the American educational system. A recent study by the U.S. Department of Education found that only 20 percent of fourth graders, 17 percent of eighth graders, and 12 percent of 12th graders showed “solid academic performance”. The Post interviewed some of the country’s leading educators to talk about what can be done.

History Lessons: The special three-part package begins with an interview with Pulitzer Prize-winning author David McCullough who bemoans what he describes as “historical illiteracy” among American students. He recalls meeting an otherwise intelligent college student who was unaware that the 13 original colonies were all on the East coast. Our lack of historical knowledge is actually a dangerous thing, he argues. “We’re forgetting the story of who we are, and how we came to be the way we are,” says McCullough. In the interview, McCullough describes why he believes the study of history has been marginalized even though “an interest in history is the most natural thing in the world.”

The Living Classroom: Next, the Post profiles a teacher and Civil War reenacter whose creativity is an inspiration. Every spring, fifth-grade teacher Eric Marshall transforms a field outside his school in Walnut Cove, North Carolina into a living Civil War camp and gives his students an invaluable lesson in America’s troubled past.

Testing Overload: Finally, Editorial Director Steven Slon interviews Sir Ken Robinson—whose TEDTalk on education is the most popular lecture in the series, having been seen by millions. Robinson discusses how the federally mandated push for standardized testing—with its emphasis on math and reading skills—has displaced other subjects like history, the arts and even sports. The rote learning required to prep for these tests has so starved our students of critical reasoning abilities that even many students in Ivy League universities “can barely think their way around a corner.”

What are we losing in America’s headlong rush to outperform the rest of the developed world in science, technology, engineering and math? The latest issue of The Saturday Evening Post asserts that American education’s current path will fail to equip students to meet the needs of the future. But it also brims with hope and inspiration.

The full package from The Saturday Evening Post is available online at saturdayeveningpost.com/schools-in-crisis.


About The Saturday Evening Post: For nearly 300 years, The Saturday Evening Post has chronicled American history in the making—reflecting the distinctive characteristics and values that define the American way. Today’s Post continues the grand tradition of providing art, entertainment and information in a stimulating mix of idea-driven features, cutting-edge health and medical trends—plus fiction, humor, and laugh-out-loud cartoons. A key feature is the Post Perspective, which brings historical context to current issues and hot topics such as health care, religious freedom, education, and more.