Cautionary Tale

Glazer, Nathan. "Cautionary Tale." Review of Schoolhouse of Cards by Eugene Hickok and Collision Course by Paul Manna, Education Next, Fall 2011.

Excerpt: Whatever Possessed the President? was the unlikely title of Robert C. Wood’s memoir of urban policy during the 1960s. The same thought springs to mind in reading these two books on the shaping and progress of the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) legislation, the great expansion of federal education policy effected during George W. Bush’s first year in office. One wonders not only what he and his advisers could have been thinking, but what the lawmakers who implemented NCLB could have been thinking. Its aims were unbelievably ambitious—every child to be proficient in reading, mathematics, and science for the appropriate grade level by 2014; an array of required tests in every state for grades 3 through 8 and in high school; the elimination of persistent achievement gaps for minorities, those with limited English, children from low-income families, and perhaps even students with disabilities; graduated requirements to be imposed on schools and school districts that did not make “adequate yearly progress” (AYP) toward these goals; and much else.

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