U.S. Secretary of Education Rod Paige appeared at a briefing to discuss a new book from the Brookings Institution, No Child Left Behind? The Politics and Practice of Accountability. Editors Paul E. Peterson and Martin R. West cull research on school accountability to assess the likely impact of the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 and conclude that states’ requirements for schools are likely to be softened over time by political opposition. Still, the end result may be enough to boost student achievement—in the 1990s, performance on the National Assessment of Educational Progress improved more in states that had accountability systems.
Nonetheless, Peterson and West believe that with no provision for student accountability, a gaping hole remains in the federal law. Recent research shows that greater gains are possible if students are held accountable.
The editors of No Child Left Behind? appeared at this briefing with Tom Loveless, director of the Brown Center on Education Policy, to discuss the book’s findings and answer questions from the audience.