From “A Nation At Risk” to a society at risk

A Nation At Risk

In 1983, the Reagan Administration published “A Nation At Risk: The Imperative For Education Reform” which asserted American schools were failing to meet the need for a competitive workforce. The report spurred action by local, state and federal governments and industry to reform the educational system.

In Oregon, a group of high technology leaders banded together to start the Business Education Compact (BEC) in 1984 to bring business community together to help train teachers, provide internships, and channel more resources to the education system. The BEC drew the support of Oregon’s leading high technology companies such as Tektronix, Intel, IBM and others to train teachers, advocate for proficiency-based teaching and learning, and give students valuable work experiences in STEM fields.

Now, a new fact has our attention. Oregon has the third worst graduation rate in the country with 7,600 students being forced out of our high schools each year. These are students who are historically underserved in our society and are struggling with issues of race, poverty and other burdens that prevent them from exploring their potential. If this continues, our society is at risk of disenfranchising a whole segment of the population that has ability to contribute to our strengths as a nation.

Today, we still believe business and education leaders have a shared responsibility to provide an equitable experience for all students. But we now need to intensify our focus on students who have been historically underserved to make equity a reality.

It is the mission of In4All to bring local businesses and schools together to provide real-world, hands-on learning experiences that expand opportunities for students who have been historically underserved. We know our approach engages youth in their education so they aspire to careers in fields they might not otherwise consider possible. The future of our communities depends on it.