Harvard Educational Review
  1. Winter 2006 Issue »

    Forces of Accountability?

    The Power of Poor Parents in NCLB

    John Rogers
    Parental involvement is mentioned more than one hundred times in the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB). In this article, John Rogers argues that President Bush and former U.S. secretary of education Rod Paige have promoted policy narratives of test accountability, choice, and parental involvement that describe how poor parents can spur educators to have higher expectations and to work harder. What is missing from these policy narratives, Rogers argues, is a fundamental understanding of the problems facing poor communities: a lack of both resources and tools for collective action. Through the case study of a grassroots nonprofit organization, Parent-U-Turn, Rogers demonstrates how parents can create what he calls public power by responding to structural and systemic educational problems through shared inquiry and collective action. Rogers holds up this case as an example of how parents might become true forces for accountability in public education and outlines ways in which the lessons of this example might be incorporated into the reauthorization of NCLB.

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    John Rogers is an assistant professor at the University of California, Los Angeles, Graduate School of Education and Information Studies, and the codirector of UCLA’s Institute for Democracy, Education, and Access. He studies strategies for engaging urban youth, community members, and teachers in efforts to make schools powerful and democratic sites for learning. Rogers is the coauthor of Learning Power: Organizing for Education and Justice (with J. Oakes, 2006).
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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