The Legacy of NCLB

Politicians, educators, and parents agree that the ESEA needs to be rewritten, moving U.S. education past the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) era. But despite the criticism of the current incarnation, not all aspects of NCLB are negative. An analysis of the law by the New York Timesexamines the legacy of NCLB and why some federal oversight is necessary in education.

Specifically looking at accountability and the landscape that existed before NCLB, the piece also discusses why federal involvement is important to students.

“Before No Child Left Behind, 17 states had no accountability systems for their schools, and only two states looked specifically at how well their low-income or minority students were doing. And even after the law went into effect, some states wrote easier exams or lowered their passing scores to inflate the number of students deemed proficient.

Any new legislation will most likely still require annual testing and the public release of test scores of subgroups of children. But a new bill would also probably jettison the system of punishments for schools that fail to improve scores, giving states broad discretion in handling low-performing schools.”

Read the article, “No Child Left Behind Law Faces Its Own Reckoning,” by Motoko Rich and Tamar Lewin, The New York Times (March 20, 2015)

Education Policy