A call to arms to fundamentally revolutionize the catastrophically afflicted public education system in the US. Finn (Education & Public Policy/Vanderbilt) relies heavily on statistical research conducted by various educational, governmental, and business institutions to demonstrate the pressing need for major reform. While the important trends in education during the past two decades have been towards access and equality, Finn states, assessment and accountability have been largely lacking. Increased budgetary input does not lead to better results, and while longer school terms might have been educationally successful, they were a failure politically. The author likens the US education system to the USSR economic system, indicating the extent and gravity of its failure. Finn presents himself as an almost lone crusader for such unpopular causes as national standards and a national curriculum. He wants concrete nationwide goal statements with results that can be objectively indicated and with educators directly accountable for the quality of their schools. He reiterates to the point of redundancy that we need to overhaul the power structure and its ingrained practices. Cognitive learning and knowledge must be stressed, he argues, and civilian control of the system is the only way of ultimately effecting the necessary changes. A sincere, if too heroic, plea worth reading by educators and concerned parents.