August 14th, 2007

No Child Left Behind, Part 1: The Race

Despite all the tough talk about the federal education law known as No Child Left Behind, thousands of schools with failing scores pass anyway. They do by using little-known and rarely discussed “loopholes” that are buried in the fine print of the law.

Using sports analogies from track and field, our report explains four statistical techniques that allow schools to artificially boost performance and avoid federal penalties for low achievement. By taking advantage of these (perfectly legal) loopholes, states can add points to a school’s score, thereby converting a failing performance into an apparent success.

U.S. Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings, together with education policy analysts Kevin Carey and Chester Finn, discuss the loopholes and their impact on students.

Download transcript (PDF)

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[...] Part 1 of the series examines how schools take advantage of the little-known and rarely discussed “loopholes” that are buried in the fine print of the law. In Part 2, we visit two schools in San Diego that took advantage of the law to turn their schools around. And finally, in Part 3, we talk with some of the best teachers in the country — some of whom say that NCLB makes their jobs both more difficult and less rewarding. [...]

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