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The Beginnings of a Movement

In 1983, the National Commission on Excellence in Education released its landmark report, A Nation at Risk, detailing a “rising tide of mediocrity” in educational performance that threatened America’s economic future and imperiled its standing in the world. A Nation at Risk focused public attention on the need for a fundamental restructuring of the country’s education system.

Spurred by this growing concern, the Carnegie Forum on Education and the Economy responded to one section of the report – teacher quality – by convening a task force comprised of policy makers, educators, leaders of the teachers’ unions and business leaders.

In A Nation Prepared: Teachers for the 21st Century, the task force argued that in order to have schools that would prepare students for the demands of the 21st century, the nation’s teachers would have to better trained and supported. A Nation Prepared provided specific suggestions for strengthening standards in teaching and professionalizing the teaching workforce. The National Board for Professional Teaching Standards was created to implement the report’s core recommendations.