2011 Policy Progress Report: No Child Left Behind

The unpopular policy saw the most action in a decade during 2011.

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Committee leaders passed the bill, which Petrilli labels "one shining moment when it gave a lot of us some optimism. It was more progress than we've had in 10 years, in terms of updating this law."

But the optimism didn't last long. "Just as significant was when Senator Harkin went to the floor of the Senate and made it clear that he would only move his bill forward if the House moved a bipartisan bill," says Petrilli.

And with Republican and Democratic House leaders so far apart, that seems unlikely to happen anytime soon.

Despite the Senate bill and the administration's waivers marking important new action on education policy, Nolan has a hard time deciding whether or not that action translates to progress.

"It's hard on the states to be watching what the Congress is going to do: Are they going to rewrite the law? Are they going to stick with NCLB? Are the waivers going to be in place for a while?" Nolan asks.

"Everything is so unfinished," she says. "We've been in neutral, and whether or not we're going to step forward or back is a bit unknown."

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