A Nation at Risk (NAR; National Commission on Excellence in Education, 1983) proclaimed in 1983 that U.S. K–12 educational achievement was on a downward trajectory and that American technological and economic preeminence was consequently imperiled. Both assertions were incorrect. American education achievement was not then declining and the nation’s economy continues today as the most powerful in the world. Despite being wrong on these measures, NAR motivated much that is right for American Education. The report propelled a move from measuring school quality by resources received and onto a plane where performance is judged on outcomes students’ achieve. This article asserts that this shift in the education appraisal paradigm is likely, in the long run, to render the nation’s education system more effective for students and more useful for the larger society. Hence we arrive at a major postulate with which this article is concerned, “Can a report that is wrong result in new policy conditions that are right?” However, we raise a larger issue. NAR also contributed forcefully to a vastly enhanced federal government presence in American education. A centuries-long American tradition of state plenary authority and local operating discretion is now giving way to a pressing national uniformity of federally imposed accountability requirements. Whether or not this will prove a fruitful long-run avenue is less clear.