Harvard Educational Review
  1. Winter 2006 Issue »

    Domesticating a Revolution

    No Child Left Behind Reforms and State Administrative Response

    Gail L. Sunderman and Gary Orfield
    In recognition of the increased demands facing state education departments in this accountability-focused era, Gail L. Sunderman and Gary Orfield present results from a study on the response of these agencies to the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB). In this article, Sunderman and Orfield analyze issues of state capacity, compiling data from interviews, policy and program document analysis, and budget and staffing information. They find that state education departments, which are tasked with intervening in underperforming schools to ensure 100 percent proficiency for all students under NCLB, may not have the necessary human and financial resources or organizational capacity to adequately meet their increased responsibilities. In addition to issues of capacity, structural, functional, and political factors all limit the ability of state education departments to completely fulfill their new administrative roles. Sunderman and Orfield suggest that state education departments have shown good faith in their responses and suggest that the federal law turn its attention to necessary infrastructure improvement instead of further increased responsibilities.

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    Gail L. Sunderman is a senior research associate for The Civil Rights Project at Harvard University. Her research focuses on educational policy and politics and urban school reform, including the development and implementation of education policy and the impact of policy on the educational opportunities for at-risk students. Her work has appeared in Phi Delta Kappan, Teachers College Record, and Educational Researcher. She is the coauthor of NCLB Meets School Realities: Lessons from the Field (with J. S. Kim and G. Orfield, 2005).

    Gary Orfield is a professor of education and social policy at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, where his work is centered on the study of civil rights, education policy, urban policy, and minority opportunity. He is also cofounder and director of The Civil Rights Project at Harvard University, an initiative that is developing and publishing a new generation of research on multiracial civil rights issues. Orfield’s many  publications include Higher Education and the Color Line: College Access, Racial Equity, and Social Change (coedited with P. Marin and C. L. Horn, 2005) and Dropouts in America: Confronting the Graduation Rate Crisis (2004).
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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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