The 2002 No Child Left Behind Act is the most important legislation in American education since the 1960s. The law requires states to put into place a set of standards together with a comprehensive testing plan designed to ensure these standards are met. Students at schools that fail to meet those standards may leave for other schools, and schools not progressing adequately become subject to reorganization. The significance of the law lies less with federal dollar contributions than with the direction it gives to federal, state, and local school spending. It helps codify the movement toward common standards and school accountability. Yet NCLB will not transform American schools overnight. The first scholarly assessment of the new legislation, No Child Left Behind? breaks new ground in the ongoing debate over accountability. Contributors examine the law’s origins, the political and social forces that gave it shape, the potential issues that will surface with its implementation, and finally, the law’s likely consequences for American education.
Eric A. Hanushek, Paul E. Peterson, Ludger Woessmann Lawrence H. Summers
June 19, 2013
Paul E. Peterson is the Henry Lee Shattuck Professor of Government at Harvard, the director of PEPG, and a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution. He is author or editor of numerous books, including The Education Gap: Vouchers and Urban Schools, with William G. Howell (Brookings, 2004 and 2006). Martin R. West is an assistant professor of education at the Harvard Graduate School of Education and deputy director of the Program on Education Policy and Governance (PEPG) at Harvard's Kennedy School of Government. He was formerly a guest scholar in governance studies at the Brookings Institution.