This special issue examines the underlying assumptions of the "A Nation At Risk" report, the context within which the Commission's work was situated, and the effects of the report in improving teaching and learning, as well as the performance of the public educational system. The purpose is to address three broad questions: Was America's education system really putting the nation at risk in the early 1980s? What is the legacy of "A Nation At Risk"? Given our current knowledge on education and human development, the report's overall concern is restated: What risks and opportunities lay before the nation today, and how will they affect the notion of a "learning society" and our public education system? Taken as a whole, the seven articles address the three broad issues identified regarding the past, current, and future of educational reform in the United States.