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Technology & Innovation

It’s Time to Repeal No Child Left Behind

What’s the Big Idea?

As the K-12 school year starts up again in full force, it’s worth asking: are American public schools really failing?

According to the measure set by the country’s most important piece of federal education legislation, the answer is yes. In 2011, nearly half of American schools failed to make adequate yearly progress (AYP) as defined by the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) in reading, math, and attendance. Had Secretary of Education Arne Duncan not stepped in last August and overrided the law’sunreachable deadline that all students in schools receiving federal funding be proficient in math and reading by 2014, the percentage of “failing schools” would have been nearly 100%. 

But assessing whether students are receiving a quality education is a far more complex process than the legislation allows for, argues education historian Diane RavitchWatch the interview:


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