Harvard Educational Review
  1. Winter 2006 Issue »

    Will NCLB Improve or Harm Public Education?

    John W. Borkowski and Maree Sneed
    Drawing on their legal expertise and their experience working with public school districts, John W. Borkowski and Maree Sneed discuss the controversies surrounding the implementation of the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB). They acknowledge that its principal benefits lie in its recognition of the right of each child to learn and be assessed by high academic standards, as well as in the act’s requirement that test results be disaggregated by race, ethnicity, socioeconomic status, disability, and English language learner status. However, they critique the act’s imposition of untested, federally mandated remedies driven by ideology rather than by scientific, educational research. These unproven, federally mandated remedies, along with inconsistencies in state and local implementation, are potentially more harmful than helpful. Finally, the authors examine the federal funding needed to implement additional tests, accountability measures, and the proven reforms necessary to improve educational outcomes. They argue that adequate funding has not been provided for these purposes, and that federal funds allotted for NCLB implementation should reflect the increases in resources necessary to improve public education and should be used for appropriate remedial measures designed and implemented at the state and local level. Borkowski and Sneed remain hopeful that with appropriate and consistent assessments, locally driven educational improvement measures, and adequate federal funding, NCLB can fulfill its promise to ensure educational equity for all students in American public schools.

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    John W. Borkowski is a partner at Hogan & Hartson LLP in Washington, D.C., where he practices in the area of trial and appellate litigation, with emphasis on education law issues arising under the U.S. Constitution, state constitutions, and federal statutes and regulations. He also actively advises public school districts, universities, and private companies in the education sector about a wide variety of issues, including the No Child Left Behind Act and compliance with Title VI, Title VII, and Title IX. As an adjunct faculty member at Loyola University, he taught a course entitled Educational Policy and the Law. Borkowski frequently writes articles on education law and civil rights issues and represents educational associations in the preparation of amicus briefs.

    Maree Sneed is a partner at Hogan & Hartson LLP in Washington, D.C., where her work involves advising school districts, educational associations, and private companies in the education sector on a wide range of state and federal legal issues, including those involving the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001, the Individual with Disabilities Education Act, Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, and Title IX. Sneed is on the faculty of the Harvard Graduate School of Education and serves as a board member and secretary of the National School Boards Foundation. She previously taught at the high school level and was a secondary school principal and supervisor of gifted and alternative programs in the Montgomery County (Maryland) Public Schools.
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    Winter 2006 Issue


    Foreword (full text)
    Senator Edward M. Kennedy
    Introduction to Assessing NCLB (full text)
    The Editors
    No Child Left Behind
    The Ongoing Movement for Public Education Reform
    Rod Paige
    From New Deal to No Deal
    No Child Left Behind and the Devolution of Responsibility for Equal Opportunity
    Harvey Kantor and Robert Lowe
    Will NCLB Improve or Harm Public Education?
    John W. Borkowski and Maree Sneed
    Domesticating a Revolution
    No Child Left Behind Reforms and State Administrative Response
    Gail L. Sunderman and Gary Orfield
    Real Improvement for Real Students
    Test Smarter, Serve Better
    Betty J. Sternberg
    Why Connecticut Sued the Federal Government over No Child Left Behind
    Richard Blumenthal
    Getting Ruby a Quality Public Education
    Forty-Two Years of Building the Demand for Quality Public Schools through Parental and Public Involvement
    Arnold F. Fege
    Accountability without Angst?
    Public Opinion and No Child Left Behind
    Frederick M. Hess
    Forces of Accountability?
    The Power of Poor Parents in NCLB
    John Rogers
    No Child Left Behind and High School Reform
    Linda Darling-Hammond
    Troubling Images of Teaching in No Child Left Behind
    Marilyn Cochran-Smith and Susan Lytle
    High School Students’ Perspectives on the 2001 No Child Left Behind Act’s Definition of a Highly Qualified Teacher
    Veronica Garcia, with Wilhemina Agbemakplido, Hanan Abdella, Oscar Lopez Jr., and Rashida T. Registe
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