No Child Left Behind. Yeah, O.K.

High-stakes testing doesn’t result in better education, at least not among minorities -- it just leads to a disproportionate number of African-Americans, Latinos and ESL students dropping out of Texas schools. That’s one finding in a new report released today by Rice University and the University of Texas. The study found that the state’s public school accountability system, which became the model for the national No Child Left Behind act, directly contributes to lower graduation rates.

Researchers looked at data from more than 271,000 students and found that 60 percent of African-American students, 75 percent of Latinos and 80 percent of ESL students did not graduate in five years. Overall, the graduation rate is just 33 percent. "High-stakes, test-based accountability doesn't lead to school improvement or equitable educational possibilities," Linda McSpadden McNeil, director of the Center for Education at Rice University said in a press release issued today. "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."

An executive summary of the study is available at Rice University's Center for Education. The study can be viewed in its entirety here. --Jesse Hyde

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