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The Nation's Take on NCLB

The Nation offers a fascinating take on five years of No Child Left Behind and where to go from here (in the view of four veterans in the policy community). Linda Darling-Hammond writes in the magazine's May 21 issue that while NCLB provided some breakthroughs and "shines a spotlight on longstanding inequalities" in education, its implementation has undermined good intentions. It is time to reconsider the big picture, she says. "We badly need a national policy that enables schools to meet the intellectual demands of the twenty-first century," Darling-Hammond writes. "More fundamentally, we need to pay off the educational debt to disadvantaged students that has accrued over centuries of unequal access to quality education."

The progressive magazine also offers shorter response pieces from sociologist and author Pedro Noguera, educator and National Urban League Vice President Velma L. Cobb, and New York University scholar and educator Deborah Meier. (Meier also blogs regularly on edweek.org at Bridging Differences with Diane Ravitch.) Noguera, Cobb, and Meier argue that more—much more—needs to be done to help poor children, in particular, learn to their full abilities. Not everyone will agree with The Nation's views—this is after all a magazine that lures student readers with a Web ad warning of the dangers of "falling in with that 'Young College Republican Crowd"—but the four pieces offer thought-provoking commentary on the most talked-about federal schools law in years.

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