As evidence, he points to a report from the National Endowment for the Arts “chronicling the precipitous decline in reading in the United States”.
He then goes down a path of nostalgia about all the classic fiction read during his childhood.
At my school, in good weather (and sometimes in foul), book-loving students still settle onto windowsills, curl up on porches, or sit with their backs to a tree during daily Quiet Reading time. They don’t take their eyes from the pages–lost they are, words swirling like a gale around them. Perhaps the book has taken them beneath the sea or high on a mountain. Maybe they’re battling a monster or running with animals on the veldt. When they confront “the problems of the human heart in conflict with itself,” as Faulkner put it, they will be learning what it means to be human.
However, at that point he wanders off into strange territory by declaring: “That’s what education is all about. Were it the norm, we would no longer be at risk.”
I have no argument with the idea that reading is an important skills for anyone to develop. But is a diet heavy on the classic literature really a prescription for improving K12 education?
As I recall, A Nation at Risk highlighted many more problems than just the inability (or unwillingness) to read Faulkner, Twain, and Homer.