No Child Left Behind and Closing the Achievement Gap




Farley, Kaitlin

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To what extent was No Child Left Behind successful in its goal of narrowing the achievement gap between white and black students? To better evaluate the success of the legislation, this paper investigates the education policies leading up to the drafting of No Child Left Behind, the status of the achievement gap at the time that the bill was passed, and the results of the program at the end of George W. Bush’s presidency. Focusing on No Child Left Behind’s use of Adequate Yearly Progress as a measure to evaluate the performance of students, this paper concludes that No Child Left Behind was unable to meet its goal of narrowing the black-white achievement gap, in part because its policies focused on punishing a school’s failure to meet performance standards were undermined by weak state implementation, as well as because it failed to address the root causes of the gap.



Education Reform. Public Policy. Inequality. Race.