Each State shall establish a timeline for adequate yearly progress. The timeline shall ensure that not later than 12 years after the end of the 2001–2002 school year, all students in each group described in subparagraph (C)(v) will meet or exceed the State’s proficient level of academic achievement
– No Child Left Behind Act of 2001, section 1111(2)(F)
Those of us who fail to heed the lessons of history are destined to repeat it. So let us take this moment, as we enter the New Year, to remember the hubris that caused reformers, policy elites, members of Congress, and the George W. Bush Administration to set the goal of attaining “universal proficiency” in reading and math by 2014.
The next time someone says that we must ensure that all students are college and career ready…remember “universal proficiency by 2014.”
The next time someone says that we must place a highly effective teacher in every classroom…remember “universal proficiency by 2014.”
The next time someone says that we must eradicate childhood poverty...remember “universal proficiency by 2014.”
No, we did not achieve universal proficiency by 2014. But that doesn’t mean that students haven’t benefited from the law and its associated reforms. Using results from the National Assessment of Educational Progress, let’s look at the NCLB generation—the first group of children who entered school after the law’s enactment. (These students are high school juniors today.)
In 2007, when these kids were fourth graders,
- Reading scores for the lowest-performing students and for...