Opinion: Is NCLB’s birthday worth celebrating?

The Doyle Report opines that at the idea level, NCLB embodies the education reform playbook from the 1990s. Educators, policy makers, and activists who say they “support NCLB” are essentially saying that they are “part of the education reform team.” However, does this mean these people necessarily agree with the machinery of the law? Michael J. Petrilli, Vice President for National Programs and Policy at the Thomas B. Fordham Foundation and a research fellow at Stanford’s Hoover Institution, argues that gradually and reluctantly, he has come to the conclusion that NCLB is a fundamentally flawed program that is quite possibly beyond repair.  In Petrilli’s opinion, the way forward is to take an in-depth assessment of what the federal government can realistically accomplish in education. Using rewards and punishments to prod states and districts to move in desired directions hasn’t worked. Instead of this muddle, the federal government should adopt the following principle: “Do it yourself, or don’t do it at all.” …


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