In the book The Death and Life of the Great American School System, Diane Ravitch touches on the topic of No Child Left Behind. In this section she mentions the inspiring success of Texas schools that served as a model for the No Child Left Behind legislation. On the surface this plan would ensure accountability, help raise test scores, shrink the achievement gap and appeared to be a successful model overall. However, some scholars agree that Texas’s improving statistics were a result of low-performing students dropping out of school. It is argued that the testing system in Texas caused a rise in dropouts especially African American and Hispanic students who were repeatedly held back.
A similar situation unfolded recently in the Portland area. As a condition of No Child Left Behind, some Portland public school students are allowed to transfer schools and many chose to transfer to one of the smaller alternative schools. For many years these alternative schools were not subject to the same expectations and accountability as other public schools. It appears this provided a place to channel lower achieving students to create the illusion that Portland schools were doing better than they actually were. Read more about this here: http://www.oregonlive.com/opinion/index.ssf/2010/07/dropouts_in_portland_public_sc.html
What can we do to ensure that these loopholes are closed and prevent children from falling through the cracks in our broken system?