The Next Generation of Antipoverty Policies

The Future of Children
Princeton University and the Brookings Institution
Vol. 17, No. 2, Fall 2007

This special issue of The Future of Children focuses on antipoverty policies. One paper deals exclusively with k-12 education. Penned by Richard Murnane of Harvard's Graduate School of Education, it begins by stating a problem familiar to those in the education world: "Children living in poverty, disproportionately children of color, tend to be concentrated in schools with inadequate resources and poorly skilled teachers. Many of these children are likely to leave school before earning a high school diploma. Even if they graduate, many leave school without the skills needed to earn a decent living." He follows with a series of well-worn recommendations for amending NCLB and improving these low-performing schools. Murnane suggests, for example, altering the adequate yearly progress measure in NCLB to measure student growth over time, strengthening inter- and intra-district school choice, and raising graduation requirements to prepare students better for work and college. In short, it's a good overview of the problems with NCLB, and a decent summary of some of the reform schemes in place to improve that law's performance. It's available here.

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