The landmark federal No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) was passed in 2001 with broad bipartisan support. In the years since then, however, it has come under sharp attack, not only from those on the left and right who never liked standardsbased reform in the first place but also from moderates who find several elements of NCLB untenable. In Improving on No Child Left Behind, leading authorities assess the evidence around three central critiques of the act: that NCLB is underfunded; that the standards, testing, and accountability provisions are deeply flawed; and that provisions designed to allow students to transfer out of failing public schools are not working well. Going beyond mere critique, the contributors provide concrete and workable solutions to each of these challenges. Their proposals should help inform the congressional renewal of the legislation in the near future. The book represents an effort to put the sound idea of standards-based education reform back on track. The book includes an introduction by the volume's editor, Richard D. Kahlenberg; chapters by William Duncombe and John Yinger (Syracuse University) and Anna Lukemeyer (University of Nevada-Las Vegas) on the underfunding of NCLB; by Lauren Resnick, Mary Kay Stein, and Sarah Coon (University of Pittsburgh) on the standards, testing, and accountability provisions of NCLB; and by Amy Stuart Wells (Teachers College, Columbia University) and Jennifer Holme (University of Texas-Austin) on the right of students in low-performing public schools to transfer to better-performing schools.
Richard D. Kahlenberg is a senior fellow at The Century Foundation, where he writes about education, equal opportunity, and civil rights. He is the author of four books, including Tough Liberal: Albert Shanker and the Battles Over Schools, Unions, Race, and Democracy (Columbia University Press, 2007) and All Together Now: Creating Middle Class Schools through Public School Choice (a Century Foundation Book published by Brookings, 2001). He is also the editor of four more, including America's Untapped Resource: Low-Income Students in Higher Education (Century Foundation Press, 2004) and Public School Choice vs. Private School Vouchers (Century Foundation Press, 2003).