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Winter 2004 Vol. 12 No. 2 Focus on Adequate Yearly Progress

Education law is tougher on diverse schools

Photo: Harvey Finkle

The No Child Left Behind law has a number of provisions aimed at insuring equity among students. But evidence is growing that schools with a diversity of students are at a disadvantage under the law.

By by Paul Socolar

Some critics of the federal No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) have argued that large schools and schools with a diverse student population are penalized by the law's provisions. School performance results from 2004 in Philadelphia appear to bear out this charge.

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With AYP, 'No Child Left Behind' takes aim at 'achievement gap'

By by Sheila Simmons

The nation's "achievement gap" is narrowing, according to a recent report by the Education Trust, a Washington-based advocacy organization.

In an October news release, the group calls the evidence of a decrease in racial disparities "positive news about the power of the No Child Left Behind Act to get educators focused on closing the achievement gap."

But a number of local and national education experts express doubts that NCLB is having a positive impact on the educational achievement of poor students and students of color.

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Achieving 'proficiency': the devil is in the details of state plans

By by Eva Travers

Item: A child is an above average student in math but fails to score "proficient" on the state standardized test. Yet if the same student had taken the state test in a neighboring state, achieving "proficiency" would have been a cakewalk.

Item: In Florida, only 24 percent of schools statewide met the annual targets for school performance that are now required under federal law in every state. Next door, in Alabama, not renowned for high quality public schools, 95 percent of schools met the state's school performance targets.

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