Signed to law in January 2002, NCLB marked a controversial landmark for the federal government in education policy. It mandated high-stakes tests to measure student achievement. Schools that lag behind face penalties. With the law past due for reauthorization, U.S. News asked four experts to offer lessons that can be drawn from it.
Edited by Robert Schlesinger
By Margaret Spellings
Secretary of education for President George W. Bush
What lessons have we learned from the historic legislation known as No Child Left Behind? The most gratifying is that more kids are learning their lessons. How do we know? Because our schools are now required to find out how each student is doing every year in the key building-block subjects of reading and math...
By Randi Weingarten
President of the American Federation of Teachers
What have we learned from the No Child Left Behind Act? In a word: lots. Unfortunately, most of what we have learned shows that while the law's mission of creating high standards for all children was critical, its focus on stakes (the faulty emphasis on tests) and sticks (punishing schools in need of help) hasn't...
By Michael Cohen
President of Achieve, a nonpartisan education reform group
No Child Left Behind represents a continuation of a 45-year federal commitment to improving the education of poor children.
The law's greatest achievement was insisting that data on student achievement be broken down and reported by subgroups, focusing the attention of educators...
By Andrew Rotherham
Publisher of Education Sector; author of the blog Eduwonk.com
It is hard to find a national issue with a worse noise-to-signal ratio than the No Child Left Behind law. The contentiousness, obfuscation, and sometimes blatant misrepresentations leave parents, teachers, and policymakers baffled about what it requires or what its effects are. They likewise obscure issues the law has clearly highlighted and the...