Recent State Education Reform in the United States

Looking Backward and Forward
Michael W. Kirst
Stanford University


The first wave of school reform has crashed upon the education beach, but are other waves now forming out at sea?

The year 1983 is generally regarded as the beginning of the current cycle of state education reform. The Nation at Risk report was released that year, but many states had sponsored education legislation before the report came out. The last states to engage in legislation on education—Washington, Indiana, and Iowa—joined in 1987. The spread of this reform is very impressive, and its consistency in concept qualifies it as one of the hallmarks in state policymaking. The 1986 report of the National Governors' Association demonstrates the reform's impressive diffusion and breadth. It is now appropriate to look backward and forward because states have completed their initial stat­utes based on the 1983 reform concepts. Will there be a second wave or is the momentum spent?

This article was originally published in the Educational Administration Quarterly by the University Council for Educational Administration and SAGE Publications.

Suggested citationKirst, M. W. (1988, August). Recent state education reform in the United States: Looking backward and forward [Article]. Policy Analysis for California Education.