Congress hopes to finish work on the reauthorization of the No ChildLeft Behind Act (NCLB) before the presidential primary season beginsin January 2008, though it is unclear whether that deadline will bemet. The six-year-old law was originally passed by Congress with strongbipartisan support, but now faces opposition from both the right andthe left. Can the law be saved? The editors of Education Next join inthe debate on NCLB’s future, assessing the law’s shortcomings andprescribing what Congress should do to avert a disaster.
Frederick Hess and Chester Finn argue that NCLB was bound to crash andburn, since the machinery of the law is not powered by a coherent model ofeducational change or a sound view of the federal role in education.
A Lens That Distorts
Paul Peterson defends NCLB-style accountability but challenges Congressto fix the measuring stick used to evaluate schools.
Testing the Limits of NCLB
The real problem with NCLB, says Michael Petrilli, is that it wrongly assumesthe federal government can force recalcitrant states and school districts todo their job well.
Basically a Good Model
NCLB is a groundbreaking civil rights law that has already improved thenation’s schools, counters Dianne Piché , who offers a vigorous defenseof the statute.