Yes, we are now smack in the middle of celebrating the 10th anniversary of our beloved No Child Left Behind. As we should expect from something that has been on the “out” list the past three or five seasons, many of the birthday wishes are focusing on the failures or shortfalls of the law. Yes, shocker!
So over at the National Journal Education Experts Blog, Eduflack focuses on some of the strengths of the law — those positive specifics that we must continue to improve and build on. Accountability. A strong focus on achievement gaps. A commitment to evidence-based decision making. Choice. All made enormous steps forward in the NCLB era, and all are essential if we are to improve public education in the post-NCLB era. After all:
At the end of the day, NCLB will best be remembered as an unfinished legacy, one with great promise, but real challenges in delivering on those promises. But we cannot deny that NCLB succeeded in moving K-12 education away from a discussion of process and inputs (as it had been for so many iterations of ESEA before it) and towards a focus on outcomes. We have started to see students and families as the customers in the process, with providers (the public school system) improving the quality of their product. And now, parents can look at test scores and other achievement measures to determine the return on investment for their local education dollar.