According to a 1996 poll conducted by the Washington Post, 62 percent of Americans believe that the quality of the U.S. educational system has declined and that public schools “will get worse instead of better.” Falling test scores, startling gaps in general knowledge among high school students, and an increasing need for remedial coursework in English and math are evidence of this educational decline, critics contend. Between the mid- 1960s and the mid-1990s, for example, the average Scholastic Assessment Test (SAT) score dropped fifty-five points on the verbal section and...
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