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  • Writer's pictureJoanne Jacobs

Remember when every kid counted?

Tracy Dell’Angela remembers when affluent suburban schools had to “worry about whether

all their students made the grade — not just some of them, not just the White ones and the middle-class ones.”

Under No Child Left Behind (NCLB), schools had to report the performance of vulnerable subgroups, such as students with disabilities, English-language learners and low-income kids. “If the vulnerable students were failing, then the whole school was considered failing,” she writes on Education Post.

NCLB had many faults, writes Dell’Angela. In addition to narrowing the curriculum, “it encouraged states to set their passing standards low so that big numbers of students could pass without really learning what they needed for high school, college and beyond.”

Furthermore, remedies such as tutoring and transfer to better schools didn’t work. Neither did restructuring of chronically low-performing schools.

But the law shined a very bright light on how all students were progressing academically—not just in urban districts where test-based accountability took hold long before NCLB, but also in suburban and rural districts that never had to report their progress to parents or the taxpaying public.

That light has dimmed, she concludes.

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