• The success of No Child Left Behind

      Nicholson, Jordan (State University of New York College at Fredonia, 2016-05)
      The No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB), enacted into law in 2002, was the culmination of years of policy work and political posturing and represented the most sweeping changes to the American education system since the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1964 (McGuinn, 2006). The analysis of this policy is particularly important because it will help future generations identify the positives and negatives of federal intervention in education. Beginning with the National Defense Education Act in 1958, the federal government has gradually increased its role in the oversight and administration of public education (Kessinger, 2011). Following landmark reforms like those enacted during Lyndon Johnson's "Great Society" and Jimmy Carter's creation of the federal Department of Education, this intervention reached its apex in 2002 with the passage of NCLB and touched off a spirited debate across the country about how best to evaluate school performance (McGuinn, 2006). The act's provisions, including teacher evaluations; an emphasis on science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM); and mandatory standardized testing, changed the landscape of public education. Whether these initiatives improved the quality of American education is the subject of intense debate (Moores, 2004), but there exists a measurable impact on test scores, which lends credence to the idea that it was a successful policy. While the stated goals of the policy were not met, evidence exists of significant progress towards American education improvement in the 21st century. [from author's abstract]