Poster Paper: State Achievement Gaps in the NCLB Decade

Thursday, November 7, 2013
West End Ballroom A (Washington Marriott)

*Names in bold indicate Presenter

Constance Margarete Clark, Education Sector
In 1954, Brown v. Board of Education allowed for the integration of public schools.  Nearly 60 years later, a number of education reform strategies from urban charter schools to subgroup accountability in ESEA waivers have acknowledged and sought to close the achievement gap between white and black students.  The driving question of this study is, have these efforts been successful?

This paper focuses on the last 10 years specifically, what I will call the No Child Left Behind decade.  As part of Lyndon B. Johnson’s War on Poverty in 1965, he signed into law the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) to help disadvantaged children succeed in school. In 2001, President George W. Bush signed the No Child Left Behind Act, a reauthorization of Johnson’s ESEA.  Recently, President Obama’s initiative to allow state to submit waivers, granting them flexibility from NCLB’s strict proficiency guidelines sends a strong message that all 50 states are capable and responsible enough to educate all of their children to reach national standards of proficiency and equity.  This study finds that the data tells a different story.  That, while states have made some progress is closing the Black-White achievement gap, there is still a gap and it still needs to be closed.  The study also finds that the when we look at achievement gaps by state, the top performing states in the nation (when it comes to educating all students) are not reaching the same amounts of success at educating the races equally. 

Our country has been working on the issue of disadvantaged and minority education for years.  Where are we now?