This is the Education Department’s series finale on NCLB
implementation. Utilizing data from two separate studies, it supplies
broad descriptions of NCLB accountability efforts. At first blush, it
highlights a lot of things we already knew. For example, states with
lower standards don’t have to work as hard to get students up to the
proficient level, while schools with more minority and low-income
students tend to make adequate yearly progress less frequently. However,
neatly tucked on page 139, the authors casually add in a sentence
actually worth noting. While time-in-learning for reading and math
increased during study years, “the time devoted to other subjects was
virtually unchanged.” If true, this would throw a monkey wrench into the
standard NCLB criticism that the legislation has unduly narrowed
curriculum and open up the debate for more systemic issues with NCLB
accountability. But other federal data, such as the Schools and Staffing
Survey, have found the exact opposite, in elementary school at least. (See here, here, and here, too.) In the very least, this report won’t make us less vigilant about curriculum narrowing. You can download the report here.

James Taylor, Brian Stecher, Jennifer O’Day, Scott Naftel, Kerstin Carlson le Floch
RAND and American Institutes for Research
U.S. Department of Education Office of Planning, Evaluation and Policy Development
January 2010

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