Degree Type

Honors Capstone Project

Date of Submission

Spring 5-1-2005

Capstone Advisor

Keith Bybee

Honors Reader

Gavan Duffy

Capstone Major

Political Science

Capstone College

Citizenship and Public Affairs

Audio/Visual Component


Capstone Prize Winner


Won Capstone Funding


Honors Categories

Social Sciences

Subject Categories

American Politics | Political Science


This paper explores the role and impact that the federal No Child Left Behind Act has had on public education since its legalization in 2002.

It begins with a history on the evolution of federal involvement in public education. Over time, mounting pressure for theUnited Statesto compete academically on an international level has created a need for all areas of education to become “accountable” for reaching high achievement standards, arriving at the overwhelming reliance on standardized tests we see in public education today. Next, this paper presents four areas of contention surrounding the debate over No Child Left Behind. The issues concern the NCLB standardized testing requirements, the disaggregating of minority students into subgroups to separately measure test scores, the debate over whether Congress is adequately funding states to implement NCLB, and finally how actors in the debate view NCLB’s effect on the balance of federalism. The opinions presented in this paper are largely bipolar and dichotomous, representing politicians and policy-makers in favor of the Act, and teachers and educators against it.

In addition to exploring these dichotomies in a Literature Review, I have conducted several interviews with teachers and educators fromSyracusepublic schools to expand the scope of the controversy. This new information will support my thesis statement, which argues that No Child Left Behind and its focus on how annual standardized testing is not conducive for closing the majority/minority achievement gap. It will also elucidate how teachers, our closest connection to students, feel the Act is working.

This paper will provide a unique discussion of NCLB’s core provisions and who supports/opposes it and contribute new information to the study of public education.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.



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