A new white paper, “Social and emotional development: The next school reform frontier,” from the Brookings Institute highlights inequality in K-12 academic development found in minority students and low-income, urban districts. Referring to the current No Child Left Behind (NCLB) rewrite in Congress, the paper contends that part of new policy for NCLB should focus on the emotional and social development of students who routinely fall behind academically. The paper’s author writes that while there has been success in narrowing achievement gaps, there is research that suggests intervening in social and emotional skills can in turn boost academic skills. In relation to the Brookings paper, support by a number of large civil rights groups for NCLB testing also focuses on how this education policy can help students.
In a letter written on May 5, 2015, 10 civil rights groups signed on to statements opposing anti-testing efforts and supporting NCLB. The letter explains that standardized testing data is important because it shows, in an objective way, the disparities in educational outcomes. Both the white paper and the letter comment on how NCLB could be a vehicle for helping to close the achievement gap.