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Looking at the Achievement Gap, Students Still Left Behind

University of Pittsburgh Center for Urban Education

When the No Child Left Behind program was implemented in 2002, it had an overall goal of closing the achievement gap between disadvantaged student groups and well-off students and making schools and teachers accountable for the performance of their students on new math and reading standardized tests.

More than a decade later, the program has not had the desired results, says Pedro Noguera, the Peter L. Agnew Professor of Education at New York University. Students and schools in lower income areas continue to not do as well on standardized tests as students in more affluent areas.

“It’s not happening because we don’t do a good job at quality control. We will put in programs to help kids or to help teachers but no one takes the time to look at whether the program was implemented properly or whether or not we got the results we hoped for,” says Noguera.

According to him, in order to close the achievement gap, what students really need is strong leadership, school cultures that are conducive to learning, guidance from teachers, parents engagement and solid community support.

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