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Lessons from a Half-Decade of NCLB
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As the reauthorization of the nation’s seminal education law—the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB)—rapidly approaches, a team of respected education scholars and analysts assess how NCLB’s interventions for poorly-performing schools are actually working.
Editors Frederick M. Hess of the American Enterprise Institute and Chester E. Finn Jr. of the Thomas B. Fordham Foundation pull no punches. In No Remedy Left Behind, seventeen education experts rigorously assess—across the nation’s states and school districts—the law’s public school choice requirement (which offers students enrolled in schools in need of improvement the opportunity to attend another school), its complex supplemental educational services provision (that is, free tutoring services offered to low-income students who attend failing schools), and its controversial “restructuring” mandate (which forces low-performing schools to plan and implement significant reforms).
Throughout the volume, contributors inform us whether big-city school districts are complying with the law, whether low-performing schools are informing parents of their options, and whether reported problems are due to flawed federal implementation or a fundamentally flawed statute.
Among the authors’ findings:
The editors and authors of No Remedy Left Behind recommend that:
As American public education continues to languish, policymakers continue to disagree and do nothing. Officials may not like what this book has to tell them, but the status quo is no longer acceptable. Both Hess and Finn encourage legislators to act and embrace some of the muscular, hardy recommendations offered in No Remedy Left Behind.
Frederick Hess is director of education policy studies at AEI.
Chester Finn is president of the Thomas B. Fordham Foundation.
Praise for No Remedy Left Behind
“No Remedy Left Behind is a sobering and important look at the nation’s basic federal education law governing K-12 schools. No hysterics, no ranting, just a careful and objective examination of how the No Child Left Behind law is working–and not working.”
“Rick Hess and Chester Finn succeed at the improbable–creating a lively analysis of No Child Left Behind. My favorite line: school transfers and tutoring are about as punitive as ‘wet noodles dragged across the cheek.’ This is a book for all those so caught up in debating the politics and rewriting of the law that they miss the bigger story of the law’s limp remedies for failure and the impunity with which many schools are running out the NCLB accountability clock.”
“No Remedy Left Behind pulls no punches. Rick Hess and Chester Finn, with the help of a handful of researchers, live up to their reputations as gadflies willing to challenge conventional Washington thinking about NCLB with data, insight, and timely advice for the Congress and the administration.”
“If you like your analysis hard-hitting and direct, there is much for you to enjoy and absorb in No Remedy Left Behind. Honest, ambitious, and useful, No Remedy slices and dices through the myriad of political, practical, and policy issues of the start-up years of NCLB. Rick Hess and Chester Finn are refreshingly opinionated while providing balanced, pointed analysis of how the NCLB remedies are working and how they are not.”
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