Getting to the Core: Rewriting the No Child Left Behind Act for the 21st Century

39 Rutgers L. Rec. 1 (2011) | WestLaw | LexisNexis | PDF
Any consideration of the next generation of law-based education reform must address the dual goals of insuring public accountability for all schools to educate all students, as well as insuring every child’s individual opportunity to learn meaningful content. The impending re-authorizations of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) and the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) present the opportunity to reassess the role of these laws in the improvement of meaningful opportunity to learn for all students. The current version of the ESEA, as revised by the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB), has had considerable impact in improving the education of many students, yet it has also raised many concerns and much controversy about both educational and assessment practices; as well as the proper role of federal laws. A major benefit of NCLB has been the attention focused on improving the performance of at-risk subgroups of students. On the other hand, it has caused controversy within the civil rights community as well as widespread scholarly debate within both the legal and social science communities. The education and assessment of students with disabilities (SWD) and other special subgroups of students, particularly low-income and minority students, also presents an enormous challenge to future educational improvement. Tests generated under the NCLB system provide glaring evidence that there is still much room for improvement in the effective education of all students to high standards to prepare them for higher education and the workplace.

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