Center for American Progress

Looking to the Future: Improving American Schools Begins Here
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Looking to the Future: Improving American Schools Begins Here

Amid declining achievement, CAP details a progressive agenda for closing American education gaps at home and abroad.

Four and a half years after the enactment of the No Child Left Behind Act, we’ve learned that the American education system is a long way away from reaching one hundred percent student proficiency by 2014.

For the first time since implementation, each state was required to test all students in math and reading in grades three through eight and one year of high school during the 2005-2006 school year. Resulting state adequate yearly progress data shows a slight decline in the number of schools meeting their achievement targets and a slight increase in the number of schools identified as “in need of improvement.”

This is likely to become a trend as states continue to raise their standards to meet proficiency goals under NCLB, High expectations, however, are not the culprit. The outdated public education system that has enabled various inequities to persist and supported policies that put the needs of children behind those of others have made it difficult to provide a high-quality education to all children.

Education must be a long-term national priority. We must modernize the nation’s public education system to ensure that all students have the necessary supports to succeed academically.

Federal, state, and local governments have the opportunity to renew their commitment to education by defining a proactive, comprehensive education agenda. The cornerstones of an effective agenda for improving academic performance and closing achievement gaps are:

Read the Center for American Progress policy brief on education:

For detailed information on these recommendations, see:

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