June 5, 2007

No one knows NCLB's effects

In its new report, Answering the Question That Matters Most: Has Student Achievement Increased Since No Child Left Behind?, the Center on Education Policy provides the obvious answer: No one knows. There is some evidence of increasing achievement on some [later: many state test] measures, but attributing that to NCLB is foolhardy.

With such ambiguous conclusions, this report will probably be spun harder than an Elvis single. The White House will somehow claim that it completely vindicates the No Child approach, some opponents of NCLB will claim that 5 years after passage, the lack of solid evidence in its favor should tip Congress towards repeal of the more forceful accountability provisions, and the rest of us will wonder why there's a press conference on a non-finding.

(Hat tip: Ron Matus.)

Update: David Hoff's Ed Week article and Eduwonk have different emphases from mine--I guess I'm jaded by reports such as this. Hoff's article does a very decent job of describing the different reactions, but I disagree with the instant-pundit perception that this will shape the NCLB reauthorization debate significantly. I think that's said the same day that every new report is issued, and if all of the pundits were right, we'd have dozens of incredibly influential reports.  But they can't all be influential individually. CEP has more than the usual gravitas, but we'll just have to see...

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Posted in Accountability Frankenstein on June 5, 2007 10:37 AM |