NCLB at the Crossroads: Reexamining the Federal Effort to Close the Achievement Gap
June 09, 2009
Edited by Michael A. Rebell and Jessica R. Wolff
Teachers College Press
Michael Rebell, the executive director, and Jessica Wolff, the policy director, for the Campaign for Educational Equity at Teachers College at Columbia University, have produced a thorough assessment of the No Child Left Behind Act. The book, a compilation of chapters by individual education scholars, examines the act's emphasis on proficiency and accountability, using schools to relieve social inequality, reducing the black-white achievement gap, helping students with disabilities, and other issues.
A chapter by Robert Schwartz, the academic dean at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, delves into NCLB's muddled accountability standards and highlights the Fordham Institute's own reports, The Proficiency Illusion (here) and To Dream the Impossible Dream: Four approaches to national standards and tests for America's schools (here).
Rebell and Wolff also present their own recommendations for improving NCLB. For example, they urge content-based learning standards for all students. But the most important lesson in the book is that No Child Left Behind is worth reforming and its historic spotlight on equity and accountability is necessary now more than ever as we move forward in trying to find better ways to educate Americans. You can order the book here.