April 24, 2003, Extra Credit
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April 24, 2003
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How the No Child Left Behind "Microscope" is Helping Close the Achievement Gap in Suburban Schools
One of the major priorities of the No Child Left Behind Act is eliminating the achievement gap between disadvantaged and minority children and their peers. To achieve this goal, No Child Left Behind requires schools to monitor the performance of various sub-groups of their students, including African Americans, Hispanics, and low-income students. Each sub-group must be making adequate yearly progress (as defined by the state) toward the goal of 100 percent proficiency on state standards in math and reading by the 2013-2014 school year.

In a recent article, U.S. News & World Report examined the achievement gap in suburban schools. The article cited as an example a school that had 76 percent of its nonpoverty students pass the state's third grade reading test while only 28 percent of its low-income students passed the same exam. U.S. News went on to note: "While states have long targeted low-performing urban schools for improvement, suburban schools with high overall test scores and pockets of racial and economic diversity are only now coming under the reform microscope. And the early readings in many cases are not impressive."

Quoted in the article is Education Trust Director Kati Haycock, who aptly describes the No Child Left Behind reforms when she states: "Historically, we've judged our schools primarily on how their top kids did. But this law says you are no longer successful if you are not successful with every group of kids."

The complete text of the U.S. News & World Report article is available by subscription at:


About Extra Credit
NCLB Extra Credit is a regular look at the No Child Left Behind Act, President Bush's landmark education reform initiative passed with bipartisan support in Congress.

If you would like the NCLB Extra Credit emailed to you, please send a request to Geoff Goodman at or call (202) 205-9191.


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Last Modified: 11/15/2006