The following are excerpts from an editorial in the Newport News Daily Press (July 14) on the need to close the "achievement gap" and the No Child Left Behind Act’s power to hold schools accountable for doing so:
"The progress Newport News is making in closing the achievement gap between black and white students is encouraging. Black students still trail whites, but in elementary, middle and high schools, in math and English and science and social studies, in small gains and big ones, the gap is narrowing.
"Newport News' success teaches some large lessons: It reminds us that big educational challenges are not addressed unless they are talked about out in the open, unless progress is checked frequently and the score posted. Newport News is making progress because it’s making this a priority, and it’s making sure the scoreboard is big and public. It puts the truth about the achievement gap out in the open….
"It is an argument for the power of No Child Left Behind to make real improvements in education. In Newport News’ case, it’s a roundabout argument, because the school system made closing the achievement gap a priority before No Child Left Behind mandated it. But for many school districts, that kind of public focus and commitment wasn't the case before No Child Left Behind, and is only reluctantly the case now….
"The power of No Child Left Behind is that it forces us to pay attention to that achievement gap and forces schools and school boards to be accountable for closing it."
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