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ERIC Number: ED529798
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2012-Jan
Pages: 24
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 53
NCLB's Lost Decade for Educational Progress: What Can We Learn from this Policy Failure?
Guisbond, Lisa
National Center for Fair & Open Testing (FairTest)
Ten years have passed since President George W. Bush signed No Child Left Behind (NCLB), making it the educational law of the land. A review of a decade of evidence demonstrates that NCLB has failed badly both in terms of its own goals and more broadly. It has neither significantly increased academic performance nor significantly reduced achievement gaps, even as measured by standardized exams. In fact, because of its misguided reliance on one-size-fits-all testing, labeling and sanctioning schools, it has undermined many education reform efforts. Many schools, particularly those serving low-income students, have become little more than test-preparation programs. Despite a decade's worth of solid evidence documenting the failure of NCLB and similar high-stakes testing schemes, and despite mounting evidence from the U.S. and other nations about how to improve schools, policymakers cling to discredited models. This is particularly tragic for families who hoped their children's long wait for equal educational opportunity might be ending. It is also tragic for public education system, whose reputation has been sullied by promises not kept and expensive intervention schemes that do more harm than good. It is not too late to revisit the lessons of the past ten years and construct a federal law that provides support for equity and progress in all public schools. With that goal in mind, this report first provides an overview of the evidence on NCLB's track record. Second, it looks at recent efforts at NCLB "reform" and what past evidence says about their likely outcomes. Finally, it points to alternative strategies that could form the basis for a reauthorized federal law that would improve all schools, particularly those serving the most needy students. (Contains 1 figure and 2 footnotes.) [This paper was written with Monty Neill and Bob Schaeffer.]
National Center for Fair & Open Testing (FairTest). P.O. Box 300204, Jamaica Plain, MA 02130. Tel: 617-477-9792; Web site:
Publication Type: Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Elementary Secondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: National Center for Fair & Open Testing (FairTest)
Identifiers - Location: United States
Identifiers - Laws, Policies, & Programs: No Child Left Behind Act 2001