Money Well Spent.
The 1990s, the decade of accountability in education, forced inordinate attention on the field. Across the nation, parents, business leaders, and politicians demanded higher test scores, responsible fiscal expenditures, guarantees that students were learning, and the removal of ineffective teachers from the classroom. By the end of the 1980s, it was evident that Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT) scores (the common national examination used for college admissions) were continuing to fall—or at best, not rising. Strong teacher unions were continually fighting issues of merit-pay and the testing of employed teachers. The American public began to demand an accounting for the quality of education students were receiving. Constant comparisons to tested abilities of children in other countries and the rising concern about the skill levels of high school graduates, which usually reflected badly on American youth, prompted many groups to clamor for substantial improvements.
Many reformers turned to alternative modes of teaching the country's youth. If more money and the often contradictory ideas from respected practitioners could not alter the bleak picture of education in the nation, then perhaps reliance on public education was not the best solution. A groundswell of support appeared for increased options outside the...
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