Panel Paper: The Effect of No Child Left Behind On Public Schools: Role of Sanctions Versus Stigma

Friday, November 9, 2012 : 8:20 AM
International C (Sheraton Baltimore City Center Hotel)

*Names in bold indicate Presenter

Rajashri Chakrabarti, Federal Reserve Bank of New York

NCLB requires states to establish adequate yearly progress (AYP) targets to assess the performance of schools. Title 1 schools missing AYP criteria for two or more consecutive years face title 1 sanctions. Unlike title 1 schools, non-title 1 schools do not receive title 1 funding, and hence do not face sanctions even if they fail to make AYP. However missing AYP is associated with negative publicity and visibility, and hence stigma. Thus Title I schools missing AYP face both sanctions and stigma, while non-title 1 schools missing AYP face only stigma. Exploiting this feature of the program, this paper investigates whether the threat of sanctions along with stigma can bring about a different response from public schools than stigma itself. While multiple pre-NCLB accountability systems incorporated both sanctions and stigma, the simultaneous nature of these consequences precluded separation of these two effects in a convincing manner. In contrast, NCLB provides a unique opportunity to separate out the effects of sanctions and stigma. Using detailed data on Title 1, school scores, and accountability from the state of Wisconsin, and a regression discontinuity strategy that exploits the Title 1 eligibility formula and the AYP formula, I investigate the effect of sanctions versus stigma. Preliminary results indicate that while stigma led to improvement in high stakes reading and math in the threatened schools, sanctions led to additional improvements in these subject areas in these schools.