Academic journal article Education Next

NCLB Forum

Academic journal article Education Next

NCLB Forum

Article excerpt

As the articles on No Child Left Behind ("Will NCLB Hit the Wall?" forum, Fall 2007) make clear, there is reason to wonder about the future of President Bush's signature education law.

Whether or not No Child Left Behind is reauthorized and what any revised law might look like will be a matter of politics more than policy. Well into the implementation of the law, we have learned that those who opposed it initially still do and those who supported it initially are having second thoughts. We have also learned just how talented the education establishment is at getting around some of the more controversial aspects of the law, like school choice and supplemental educational services, and how adept state and local officials are at changing the rules in the middle of the game to enhance the image of their schools.

The law itself has changed the terms of the national education debate. Now there is an unrelenting focus on results, even if there is debate over how best to measure them. Now policymakers are forced to confront the achievement gap, even as they seem somewhat bewildered about what to do about it. More information about America's schools is available today than ever before, although that information is sometimes packaged in less than fully transparent ways. …

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