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NCLB Meets School Realities: Lessons from the Field

Ohanian Comment: I offer this book to whomever tells me they've sent at least $20 to the World of Opportunity. Check with me first to make sure the book isn't already "sold."

World of Opportunity
7429 Georgia Road
Birmingham, Alabama 35212-2921

Send the WOO $30, and I'll send you the book and our CD, No Child Left Behind? Bring Back the Joy.

NCLB Meets School Realities: Lessons from the Field by Gail L.. Sunderman, James S. Kim, and Gary Orfield. Corwin Press. $29.95

Not even Amazon.com offers a discount on this book.

I am disappointed that the authors chose not to acknowledge the corporate connections behind NCLB, nor did they discuss the curriculum damage is has caused, but here is a conclusion that will get quoted:

We found that the law was implemented in a context of heightened intergovernmental conflict. The Bush administration neither honored the best traditions of federalism nor showed respect for professionals working within federal grant programs at the state and local level. It adopted a command and control posture, often criticizing officials who challenged its claims or policies, implying that anyone who disagreed was not up to an appropriate standard.

I fear that one conclusion in the book will lead to dangerous "solutions."

We also found that the way NCLB judged proficiency was flawed.It was virtually impossible to interpret the meaning of proficiency across states since each state established its own definition of what it means to be proficient.

The obvious solution here is a national test, which may have been one of the corporate-political goals all along. By failing to recognize the influence and agenda of the Business Roundtable, the authors adopt a fix-it mode, explaining how NCLB can be repaired, in their words "to correct the design flaws."

NCLB Meets School Realities: Lessons from the Field by Gail L.. Sunderman, James S. Kim, and Gary Orfield. Corwin Press. $29.95

Book Description

"A timely study on the implementation of NCLB in 6 states during the initial phase of the reform. The authors' policy recommendations will be particularly useful to policy makers and practitioners in designing more effective strategies to improve schooling quality for the least advantaged children. This book will be widely adopted in graduate courses in educational policy and intergovernmental relations."
-Kenneth Wong, Professor
Peabody College, Vanderbilt University

"This is an important, topical book that provides a deep look at fundamental issues in the design and implementation of No Child Left Behind."
-Richard F. Elmore, Gregory Anrig Professor of Educational Leadership
Harvard Graduate School of Education

"The well documented and thorough approach to collecting the data is a major strength. The material fit with my experiences as a practicing principal. This book can serve as a catalyst for quality conversation that is so drastically needed about how to make NCLB do what it is intended to do - ensure that every child is successful!"
-Bonnie Tryon, Principal, Golding Elementary School, Cobleskill, NY
Member, 2002-2003 NAESP Board of Directors

The essential guide to understanding NCLB

The No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 is one of the biggest educational forces of our time. So why is it one of the least understood? NCLB Meets School Realities is an essential resource for educators wanting to explore and understand the issues raised by NCLB. Based on original research by The Civil Rights Project at Harvard University of 11 districts across 6 states, this text details how NCLB is put into practice, the issues it raises, and how it affects minority and low-income students. The authors look closely at the implications of increased federal involvement in education, how states designed their accountability systems to meet the NCLB requirements, and the implications of the adequate yearly progress provisions for schools and students. They examine whether the transfer policy creates better schooling options for disadvantaged families, the ability of districts to implement supplemental educational services, and how teachers view the efficacy of NCLB’s reforms. They also review one provision-graduate rate accountability-in light of the national graduation rate crisis.

NCLB Meets School Realities includes:

* Practical methods to understanding the political implications of NCLB
* A detailed look at how proficiency standards affect minority youth
* Revealing data from 11 school districts across 6 states

— Susan Ohanian


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