It’s 2014: Were No Children Left Behind?


“2014… All children, under federal law, are supposed to be at grade level. Spoiler alert: They’re not.

Thus begins NPR’s exploration of the failures, successes, and legacies of NCLB in the year it was to have been achieved. Here’s an excerpt from the article, written by Anya Kamenetz:

“The law required that states report more than just average test scores. It made them report, separately, the scores of traditionally disadvantaged subgroups: ethnic and racial minorities, disabled students, low-income students and English learners.

[Education Professor Andrew Ho], like most observers, agrees that this focus on the achievement gap is NCLB’s most important and positive legacy.

But, he adds, “I think it’s safe to say, and we anticipated this early on, that policymakers erred. They turned an aspirational goal that inspires support, into a target for accountability, meant for consequences.”

You can read the rest of the article here.

What do you think? Were the goals of NCLB overly ambitious?

Or, as Ho’s comments imply, did we just get so caught up in holding ourselves accountable for the goal that we undermined the goal itself? 

Feel free to comment below, or on the blog’s Facebook Page.

1 thought on “It’s 2014: Were No Children Left Behind?”

  1. If you set a completely unrealistic goal, it’s not unreasonable to expect all kinds of shenanigans by those who are trying to reach it. If the Federal government wants all students to reach a particular competency at various points in their education, they need to clearly define how to measure that. That raises a whole other question about standardized tests and sets the stage for the Federal government to start getting much more involved in education. Given out history of leaving education primarily to be handled at the local and state level, I wonder how well that would go over. When President Bush signed NCLB, I immediately thought it sounded like a lot of nice rhetoric but that it was completely unachievable. The Federal government did nothing to help cities and states be better equipped to achieve this very ambitious goal. They basically just said “You must do this. Good luck.” I question how much value NCLB really did for anyone.

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