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Study Shows No Child Left Behind’s Prototype Leading to Massive Drop Out Rate

Texas’ public school system of accountability, the model on which the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) is based, has been found to contribute to high drop out rates, especially among Blacks, Hispanics and English-as-a-second-language (ESL) students, according to an Obesity, Fitness & Wellness Week article.

Researchers at Rice University and the University of Texas at Austin studied the effect of Texas’ public school accountability system on graduation rates and calculate an overall graduation rate of just 33 percent. Data from 271,000 students showed that 60 percent of Black students, 75 percent of Hispanic students and 80 percent of ESL students did not graduate within five years.

“High-stakes, test-based accountability doesn’t lead to school improvement or equitable educational possibilities,” says Dr. Linda McSpadden McNeil, director of the Center for Education at Rice University. “It leads to avoidable losses of students. Inherently the system creates a dilemma for principals: comply or educate. Unfortunately we found that compliance means losing students.”

The accountability system uses student test scores to rate schools and reward or discipline principals based on this rating. The study shows that schools under this system are losing large numbers of low-performing students, which in turn create the false impression of rising test scores and of a closing of the achievement gap between White and minority students.

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