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Century Foundation's Rx for NCLB Missing Key Ingredient

With the political world focused on the elections and the economy, education policy wonks are busy thinking about the future of NCLB.

Tomorrow, the Century Foundation formally unveils "Improving on No Child Left Behind," a book of essays addressing the law's flaws. You can read the CliffsNotes version in Richard Kahlenberg's essay in the Oct. 15 issue of Education Week, and his extended summary on the Century Foundation Web site.

In both the Education Week essay and the summary, Century's Kahlenberg cites three problems with NCLB: inadequate funding, inconsistent standards, and a lack of options for students attending low-performing schools. Kahlenberg briefly describes how contributors to the new book propose to solve those problems.

The book has thoughtful recommendations from scholars in the field. But it doesn't address one important issue: teacher quality. One reason last year's attempt to reauthorize NCLB fell apart was because Democrats couldn't agree whether to pursue experiments with teacher pay. While it may not be the biggest policy issue in the reauthorization, it's one of the biggest political ones. The scholarly community's advice could probably help in finding a solution.

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