Equity Concerns are Critical!
Congress is talking about reauthorizing the federal testing law—the law whose recent version we call No Child Left Behind (NCLB) but that originated in 1965 as the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), passed as part of the War on Poverty. The debate in Congress seems to be slowly falling apart because of deep partisan disagreement about the role of the federal government in education policy. The Congressional debate does, however, provide an important opportunity to explore some of the issues in the law as it stands currently.
Here are two quotes that encapsulate two of my greatest concerns. The first is from Gary Orfield, the political scientist and demographer who leads the Civil Rights Project at UCLA. In a forward to a 2009 Civil Rights Project analysis of No Child Left Behind, Orfield worried that, “the law raises the pressure for schools, by themselves, to produce equal outcomes…
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