Iowa is a rural state with 365 public school districts and a strong commitment to local control when it comes to education. Iowa school districts traditionally have functioned autonomously when establishing instructional practices and measuring student progress. Consequently, the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) is creating a serious challenge for Iowa, as the state tries to balance local decision-making and the need for a more systemic approach to school improvement.

To help ensure that all Iowa school systems meet their required goals for Adequate Yearly Progress, the state has developed a three-pronged...

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