The One, Unquestionably Good Thing about No Child Left Behind

From Ross Wiener’s op-ed piece in today’s Washington Post:

Before NCLB, schools hid their achievement gaps behind their overall scores. Take Fairfax County, for instance — one of the most affluent and highly regarded school districts in the nation. It turns out that Fairfax public schools are great for some but not others. While 91 percent of Fairfax’s white students demonstrate proficiency in English, only 66 percent of its African American students reached this level of achievement last year.

As The Post noted in an editorial last November, African American students across Virginia demonstrate higher levels of learning than similar students in Fairfax. Indeed, African American students in the Richmond, Henrico County and Hampton school districts — all of which are less wealthy and educate a higher percentage of African American students — have been taught to higher levels in English, science and mathematics than African American students in Fairfax.

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