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ERIC Number: EJ763360
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2007
Pages: 5
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: N/A
ISSN: ISSN-1539-9664
Easy Way Out: "Restructured" Usually Means Little Has Changed
Mead, Sara
Education Next, v7 n1 p52-56 Win 2007
The passage of the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) in 2001 brought new urgency to the task of turning around low-performing schools. While many schools have been identified as needing improvement under NCLB, only a small percentage have failed to make progress for long enough--six years--to be subject to restructuring, the most serious consequence for schools under the law. During the 2004-05 school year, 13 states had schools in restructuring: Alabama, California, Colorado, Georgia, Hawaii, Maryland, Michigan, Nebraska, New York, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, and Tennessee. Instead of takeovers, closures, and other dire options mentioned in press coverage of the law, most states and school districts have chosen less aggressive interventions. The most popular restructuring option chosen by schools, across all these states, was "any other major restructuring." The only other option taken by a significant number of schools was to replace or remove staff, which most schools did in a limited way--in many cases simply replacing the principal--rather than undertaking the broader staff reconstitution NCLB suggests. The most drastic restructuring options--conversion to a charter school, state takeover, or contracting with a private management company to operate the school--were used by few schools, and not at all in many states. It is not surprising that many schools chose to develop their own options rather than select from the restructuring options NCLB offers. Some of these are quite controversial and potentially painful for schools and their employees. As the number of schools subject to restructuring increases, so will pressures on states and school districts to look for easy ways out. All of the restructuring options NCLB offers can be implemented in ways that circumvent the law's intent. Whether countervailing forces--federal pressure, political pressure from organized parent groups, or conscientious officials committed to the law's goals--are strong enough to force states and districts to implement meaningful turnaround efforts remains to be seen, but the evidence so far is not encouraging. (Contains 2 figures.)
Hoover Institution. Stanford University, Stanford, CA 94305-6010. Tel: 800-935-2882; Fax: 650-723-8626; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Elementary Secondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Alabama; California; Colorado; Georgia; Hawaii; Maryland; Michigan; Nebraska; New York; Ohio; Oklahoma; South Carolina; Tennessee
Identifiers - Laws, Policies, & Programs: Improving Americas Schools Act 1994; No Child Left Behind Act 2001