Harvard Educational Review
  1. Winter 2006 Issue »

    Accountability without Angst?

    Public Opinion and No Child Left Behind

    Frederick M. Hess
    In this article, Frederick Hess discusses public opinion trends related to educational issues from the enactment of the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) in 2002 through 2006. Using data from three separate public opinion polls, Hess analyzes the general public’s and parents’ opinions on several issues, including the proper use of large-scale assessments, the appropriateness of punitive action for failing schools, the place of school choice, and the responsibility for closing achievement gaps across groups. Among many important findings, the author determines that NCLB has had little effect on the public’s general opinion of public schools; that there is little public support for the sanctioning of struggling schools; and that while the public feels that schools should not be blamed for existing achievement gaps, schools should be responsible for closing them. He concludes with a discussion of implications for policymakers and practitioners.

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    Frederick M. Hess is director of education policy studies at the American Enterprise Institute and executive editor of Education Next. His many books include Educational Entrepreneurship: Realities, Challenges, Possibilities (2006); No Child Left Behind: A Primer (2006); and With the Best of Intentions: How Philanthropy Is Reshaping K–12 Education (2005). His work has appeared in publications including Urban Affairs Review, American Politics Quarterly, Social Science Quarterly, Teachers College Record, Educational Policy, Phi Delta Kappan, The Washington Post, and Education Week. He is a former high school teacher and professor of education.
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    Winter 2006 Issue

    Abstracts

    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