No Child Left behind and the Reduction of the Achievement Gap: Sociological Perspectives on Federal Educational Policy

By Alan R. Sadovnik; Jennifer A. O’Day et al. | Go to book overview

12
Nonpromotional School Change and the
Achievement of Texas Students
Possible Public School Choice Outcomes under NCLB

A. Gary Dworkin and Jon Lorence

Under the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001, schools that repeatedly fail to meet AYP goals are subject to severe consequences, including redirection of some of their Title I funds for the hiring of outside consultants, the removal of staff, and reorganization as a charter school. After two years of failure to meet adequate yearly progress (AYP) schools are required to offer public school choice to the parents of their students. The student would be able to take the tax dollars and apply them to enrollment in any school that was meeting its AYP goals. The intended consequence of the school choice component of the law is to provide students in low-performing schools, those identified under NCLB as “in need of improvement” (INOI), with an improved opportunity to learn and consequently perform better on the state-mandated, standardized tests. Using longitudinal, statewide, student-level data from Texas, we ask whether students who transfer from failing schools to higher-performing schools subsequently improve their test scores. We also investigate whether schools that exceed their AYP goals affect the performance of the transferring students.

There are several underlying assumptions of the school choice policy of NCLB. First, it is assumed that students will perform significantly better if they transfer from an INOI school to one that meets its AYP goals. Second, the policy rests on the assumption that higher-performing schools meet their AYP goals because they have teachers who are both more competent and more motivated to work diligently to help their students meet high academic standards. Furthermore,

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