No Child Left Behind (?): An investigation of the perceptions of public school administrators responding to the impact of United States legislation on their schools
Adams, Paula J
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In 2002 the federal government signed into law a new education act entitled No Child Left Behind (NCLB). An amendment to Title I Elementary and Secondary Education Act, this new law affects every school receiving financial support. NCLB is intended to advance literacy levels among low socio-economic populations. This qualitative study investigated the perceptions of 21 school administrators responding to the provisions of the law. The research questions that guided this study were: (1) How are school administrators in upstate New York representing NCLB in their schools? (2) What are local school administrators' perceptions of NCLB? (3) What is the nature of discourse among school administrators for NCLB across the locality in rural, urban, and suburban schools? (4) What connections, if any, do local school administrators in WNY make between NCLB and increased reading achievement? Data were collected from interviews with administrators in public schools and subsequently annotated, coded, and analyzed for themes using categorical aggregation in a grounded theory design. The findings include strategies used by districts to comply with the regulations of NCLB specific to literacy instruction. The strategies included collaborative data analysis, curricular revision, extended time for core disciplines, professional development for teachers, and the adoption of research-based reading programs. Under NCLB, Adequate Yearly Progress is measured on state tests. Scores are disaggregated by ethnic and socio-economic subgroups. Each school's effectiveness is measured by the progress of each group. Schools that have a large and diverse student populations are being identified as failing. Findings are discussed in relation to their implications for school administrators, teachers, reading instruction, and student achievement. Conclusions are examined in reference to the literature on critical policy analysis, ideological and educational studies in the United States.