Published Online: December 5, 2006
Published in Print: December 6, 2006, as Let Accountability Begin With the NCLB Law Itself


Let Accountability Begin With the NCLB Law Itself

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To the Editor:

Regarding "Early-Childhood Issues Raised for NCLB Law"
(Nov. 15, 2006):

The federal No Child Left Behind Act has poisoned schools with inappropriate and excessive testing, reduced reading instruction to mindless phonemic-awareness and phonics exercises, and encouraged the elimination of in-school free reading.

In the view of many scholars, research evidence did not support these moves, and, contrary to U.S. Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings’ claims, there is no evidence that the law has resulted in any improvement in student progress, or in any “closing of the gap” between children from low- and high-income families. (For further information see Gerald W. Bracey’s “The 16th Bracey Report on the Condition of Public Education” in the October 2006 Phi Delta Kappan, and my paper, “Did Reading First Work?,” posted on

In addition, the U.S. Department of Education’s inspector general recently issued a report on apparent conflicts of interest in the administration of Reading First grants. It detailed how certain reading methods and approaches were favored while others were shut out ("Scathing Report Casts Cloud Over ‘Reading First’," Oct. 4, 2006).

According to your Nov. 15 article, the Bush administration now wants to expand the No Child Left Behind law’s requirements to high school, and there is even discussion of expanding them down to preschool. With all the talk about making schools and teachers accountable, why isn’t there any talk of making NCLB accountable?

Stephen Krashen
Professor Emeritus
Rossier School of Education
University of Southern California
Los Angeles, Calif.

Vol. 26, Issue 14, Page 33

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