No Child Left Behind and the Public Schools

Scott Franklin Abernathy
Why NCLB will fail to close the achievement gap—and what we can do about it


No Child Left Behind is five years old. Has it succeeded? How would we know?

This far-reaching new study looks at the successes and failures of one of the most ambitious and controversial educational initiatives since desegregation—the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001.

NCLB's opponents criticize it as underfunded and unworkable, while supporters see it as a radical but necessary educational reform that evens the score between advantaged and disadvantaged students. Yet the most basic and important question remains unasked: "Can we ever really know if a child's education is good?"

Ultimately, Scott Franklin Abernathy argues, policymakers must begin from this question, rather than assuming that any test can accurately measure the elusive thing we call "good" education.

Cover image: Andersen Ross/Getty Images

Scott Franklin Abernathy is Assistant Professor of Political Science at the University of Minnesota. He is also the author of School Choice and the Future of American Democracy.

Praise / Awards

  • "A powerful, detailed and exceptionally balanced critique of NCLB. It offers some hope for how we might overcome its faults. No legislator or educational expert should be allowed to get away with not reading it—whether to agree or disagree. It's a must learning experience."
    —Deborah Meier, Senior scholar, New York University and author of In Schools We Trust

  • "A concise, highly readable, and balanced account of the NCLB, with insightful and realistic suggestions for reform. Teachers, professors, policymakers, and parents—this is the one book about the NCLB you ought to read."
    —James E. Ryan, William L. Matheson and Robert M. Morgenthau Distinguished Professor, University of Virginia School of Law

Product Details

  • 216 pages.
  • 16 Figures and 35 Tables.
Available for sale worldwide

  • Ebook
  • 2008
  • Available
  • 978-0-472-02151-2

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