Making Sense of NCLB

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In my work as an educational publishing consultant, I have noticed this last year a condition that has spread like a virus through the educational community - I call it "NCLB Paralysis." And no matter where you are on the political spectrum, you may be infected with it. You can self-diagnose by observing for the following symptoms:

  • Eye strain from reading (and rereading) small print in government-issued documents;
  • Nervous head twitching that results from constantly looking at what other people are doing;
  • Impaired decision-making; and
  • Heart palpitations and hand tremors when authorizing expenditures.

No Child Left Behind, the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, may be the most controversial federal education initiative since the Education for All Handicapped Children Act of 1975. But whether you are an ardent supporter or vocal detractor of the law, you are likely to share a common confusion about how to implement its many new requirements: D'es our reading program meet federal guidelines? Can I spend this money on my technology program? How can we comply with the new data reporting rules? What is data-driven decision-making anyway?

"Making Sense of NCLB" is an attempt to provide an information vaccine for the confusion that causes NCLB Paralysis. Rather than arguing over the law's merits, which we believe only adds to the paralysis, we've brought in experts to demystify some of NCLB's thornier issues for our readers. What educators need right now is direction on how to make the act work for their schools. We hope the articles herein are just what the doctor ordered.

Therese Mageau
Guest Editor

Therese Mageau (therese@educationworksconsulting.com) is the former editor of Electronic Learning magazine and currently a partner in EducationWorks Consulting Group, a full-service consulting firm that offers strategic, tactical and implementation services to meet the business, marketing and product development needs of organizations in the education market.

This article originally appeared in the 05/01/2003 issue of THE Journal.

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