ERIC Number: ED498400
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2007-Jul
Reference Count: N/A
Open to the Public: How Communities, Parents, and Students Assess the Impact of the "No Child Left Behind Act," 2004-2007--"The Realities Left Behind"
Stanik, Mary, Ed.
Public Education Network
Accountability for educating all children to their full potential is essential, but this particular goal of the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Act cannot be achieved unless policymakers address fundamental issues of resources, capacities and will within the public education system. Over a three-year period, the Public Education Network (PEN), in conjunction with local education funds, conducted 25 hearings, forums, focus groups and online surveys to give students, parents and community leaders--audiences very much affected by the law, but usually left out of the debate--an opportunity to tell their side of the NCLB story. As people became more familiar with the law and its impact, their testimony unequivocally led to these conclusions: that NCLB must have a more compelling vision, strong policies to support it, and greater public engagement. NCLB's fatal flaw could be that it has left crucial realities behind. Over three years, and at every hearing site, the public supported the goals of NCLB. However, until the act addresses the realities of inequities, limited expectations of student and teacher capacities, and the isolation of parents and communities from school reforms, it will engender more rhetoric than real difference in the success of all students. The realities "left behind," and discussed here, are: (1) NCLB has been imposed on a public school system that remains unequal; (2) NCLB rests upon a faulty measurement capacity; (3) The foundation for "highly qualified" teachers relies on qualities that ought to be present in the early selection, preparation and recruitment of teachers but, instead, rarely affects those who get to teach; (4) NCLB pays considerable lip service to parent involvement; in reality, parents and communities are almost shut out of the reform process; and (5) Not only does NCLB ignore the role of communities in achieving its goals, it seriously undermines the capacity of communities to be part of the solution for low-performing schools. Results from the PEN 2005 NCLB Online Survey are appended. [Funding for the national NCLB hearing was provided in part by the Houston Endowment, Inc., the James Irvine Foundation, and the Wallace Alexander Gerbode Foundation.]
Descriptors: Federal Legislation, Public Education, Parent Participation, Parent School Relationship, Focus Groups, Educational Change, Equal Education, Partnerships in Education, Community Involvement, Criticism, Student Attitudes, Students, Parent Attitudes, Educational Assessment, Teacher Student Relationship, Surveys, Socioeconomic Influences, Teacher Competencies, Accountability
Public Education Network. 601 Thirteenth Street NW Suite 710 South, Washington, DC 20005-3808. Tel: 202-628-7460; Fax: 202-628-1893; e-mail: PEN@PublicEducation.org; Web site: http://www.publiceducation.org/publications.asp
Publication Type: Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: Elementary Secondary Education
Sponsor: Boston Foundation, MA.; George Gund Foundation, Cleveland, OH.; Nellie Mae Foundation, Braintree, MA.; New York Community Trust, NY.; Open Society Inst., New York, NY.; Philip Morris Inc., New York, NY.; Plan for Social Excellence, Inc., New York, NY.
Authoring Institution: Public Education Network, Washington, DC.
Identifiers - Laws, Policies, & Programs: No Child Left Behind Act 2001