Thirty years ago this week, President Ronald Reagan's administration released "A Nation at Risk," a report warning of "a rising tide of mediocrity" in American public education.
According to the report, only one-third of 17-year-olds in 1983 could solve a math problem requiring two steps or more, and 4 out of 10 teenagers couldn't draw inferences from written material. In an address to the nation, Reagan warned that "about 13 percent of 17-year-olds are functional illiterates and, among minority youth, the rate is closer to 40 percent."
Businesses around Copley Square are hoping the Boston Marathon bombings won't be officially declared an act of terrorism. That's because they stand to lose insurance money. Many have business interruption insurance to pay for lost income — but that doesn't apply to terrorism and few businesses pay extra to cover it.
And we're joined now by our Friday political observers, columnist E.J. Dionne of The Washington Post. Hey there, E.J.
E.J. DIONNE: Good to see you.
CORNISH: And David Brooks of the New York Times, good to see you.
DAVID BROOKS: Good to see you.
CORNISH: So we're going to go back to the news we heard at the top of the hour about Syria. We heard Tom Bowman talk about three U.S. options all having downsides. Here's President Obama on this topic today.
A 26-year-old Chinese engineer turned entrepreneur who is in Boston developing a start-up played one of the more interesting and dangerous roles in the Boston Marathon bombing manhunt. He was driving the Mercedes SUV that he'd leased when it and he were carjacked by the Tsarnaev brothers. He escaped when they stopped for gas. Ever since, this man has kept a very low profile, but he did give an exclusive two-and-a-half-hour interview to Boston Globe reporter Eric Moskowitz, who joins us now. Welcome.
From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Robert Siegel.
AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:
And I'm Audie Cornish. The White House tried to clarify its message on Syria today, saying it is still studying evidence that the government there has used chemical weapons. Here's press secretary Jay Carney.
JAY CARNEY: We are continuing to work to build on the assessments made by the intelligence community. The degrees of confidence here are varying, this is not an airtight case.