No Child Left Behind: Progress or Empty Promises?

Apr 7, 2003 by

“No Child Left Behind: Progress or Empty Promises?”
Advocates for Education – Harvard Law School

Jimmy Kilpatrick, editor and publisher of and Senior Fellow with the Alexis de Tocqueville Institution, will participate in the Advocates for Education’s Second Annual Educational Law and Policy Symposium sponsored by the Harvard Law School.

Jimmy Kilpatrick


The event attracts some of the most knowledgeable experts in the United States to discuss important educational issues. It will be staged April 12, 2003, at Harvard Law School in Cambridge, MA. Discussions this year will focus on “No Child Left Behind: Progress or Empty Promises?”

“I am very honored to be invited to participate in this prestigious symposium,” Kilpatrick said. “It represents the growing respect that educational professionals and reporters have for”

“Texas has been Ground Zero for the development of the movement that has swept the nation. I believe those of us who have been involved in education issues in Texas will be able to provide valuable insight to the rest of the nation,” Kilpatrick said.

The symposium, consisting of three panels and a keynote address by Robert Schwartz, Founder of Achieve, Inc., will analyze the impact of the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Act on teaching and technology in America’s schools.

The Act, an extensive expansion in federal oversight of public education, outlines systems of accountability for schools, sets standards for educational quality and teacher training, and provides funds for technology in classrooms. The Act also lays out a vision of public school choice that could fundamentally shift the way education is delivered in this country.

At the symposium, the next generation of lawyers and policy makers will have the opportunity to dialogue with some of the nation’s most informed and innovative law and policy professionals.

Teaching and the NCLB: Administrative Burdens or Education Benefit?
The panel seeks to identify and discuss the reality of the educational system’s need for trained teachers, the resources necessary to train teachers to face the challenge of providing quality education in the 21st Century, and the adequacy of the NCLB Act in the face of these realities.


* What do “higher standards” actually mean for how classrooms are run? How does it affect pedagogy?

* Should Teacher certification requirements be federalized? How will these requirements impact those areas with teacher shortages?

* If schools are not currently hiring the best qualified teachers that they can, will a federal mandate change that? Can you change the education/teaching market through federal mandate?

* What will the cessation of temporary teachers licenses mean for urban school districts that are often dependent upon these teachers?

* What will the realities of overcrowded schools, and the inability of administrators in successful schools to turn students away in a choice regime, mean for the way classes are actually taught? What will it mean for schools that actually do not have enough teachers to meet new demand?

* How should we define “quality teacher”? Does the definition included in the Act actually encompass the qualities that a good teacher” should have, particularly those in low-income and urban schools?

* How, within the parameters of NCLB, might administrators and teachers address the needs of at-risk students?

* How should educational research be brought into the classroom?

* What should be the role of teacher education, and professional development, in “leaving no child behind?” Are the provisions and mandates set-forth in NCLB adequate to achieve this goal?

* Will NCBL’s emphasis on “teacher quality” require a complete restructuring of the teaching profession? NCBL aside, does addressing the problems facing the teaching profession require such a restructuring? If so, how should it look?

* What support do teachers need in meeting the goals of, and adhering to the mandates in, NCLB?

Kilpatrick, a Senior Fellow with the Alexis de Tocqueville Institution, will be part of this panel discussion. Participants include Moderator Paul Reville (Harvard Graduate School of Education), Robert Holland (Senior Fellow with the Lexington Institute), Delia Stafford (President Haberman Educational Foundation), Katherine Boles (Harvard Graduate School of Education), and David Kirkpatrick (Senior Education Fellow, US Freedom Foundation). Robert Holland is a noted author; Stafford is a veteran public school administrator who is now involved in the private industry focusing upon teacher evaluation; Paul Reville is a lecturer on education at the Harvard University Graduate School of Education and the executive director of the Pew Forum on Standards-Based Reform, executive director Center for Education Research and Policy at MassINC.

Education and the Digital Divide: Is NCLB the Way Across?
The panel will identify and discuss the technology needs of today’s struggling schools, the additional resources required to adequately prepare schools and teachers for the introduction of technological resources, and the adequacy of the NCLB Act in the face of these realities and challenges.


* What do we mean when we talk about “technology” in the classroom? Is there a way to conceive of technology and its role in education beyond the use of computers in the classroom? Are there other forms of “technology” that have a role in education?

* What is the potential role for the use of various forms of technology in the classroom? As a teaching tool, for children with special needs? Language learners?

* What should be the role of the government in encouraging/ supporting the availability of technology for classrooms?

* Can technology serve a particular role in classrooms without tradition resources, like new books, etc?

* If technology is so important, how should a public policy be designed to most effectively actualize the potential of technology in the classroom?

* What should be the role of the government? Does NCLB fulfill this role? Is policy in this area most effective at the local, state, or federal level?

* What role does research have in supporting effective public policy, and teaching practice, in this area?

Panelists include Moderator David T. Gordon (editor Harvard Education Letter), Miriam Masullo, Ph.D. (President and CEO of inViVovision, Advisory Board member of, Christopher Dede (Harvard Graduate School of Education), and Julie Wood (Harvard Graduate School of Education
). Miriam Masullo has over 16 years of experience in the telecommunications industry and has spent the last 17 years at the IBM T. J. Watson Research Center as a Staff Member, the most senior research position in the organization. While with IBM she was an executive-on-loan for two years at the National Action Council for Minorities in Engineering (NACME). David Gordan edited the books A Nation Reformed? American Education 20 Years After “A Nation at Risk” (2003) and The Digital Classroom: How Technology is Changing the Way We Teach and Learn (2000), as well as special reports about violence prevention and conflict resolution, minority achievement, and teaching as a profession.

Public School Choice: Does NCLB Give Meaning to Choice?
The panel will review the performance of the public-school-choice provisions of No Child Left Behind, with papers from the Department of Education and the House Education and Workforce Committee. Panelists discuss districts and states that have been strongly cooperative in extending this opportunity, and what the results have been in such districts, as well as states and districts that have not fully cooperated. The moderator will invite assessments of the program’s performance, realizing that we are still in the midst of the first year of implementation, and encourage a discussion of options for improving cooperation in non-performing districts. Given that there has already been litigation in some states (such as New York) over alleged non-compliance, there may be issues of special interest to the legal community.

* Does the Act actually help those children trapped in failing schools?

* What is the effect of the federalization of these issues on state education law and policy?

* What are some of the implementation challenges created for school districts?

* What is the effect of the Act at the ground-level – are parents actually able to participate in the programs in a meaningful way?

* What will the realities of overcrowded schools, and the inability of administrators in successful schools to turn students away in a choice regime, mean for the way classes are actually taught? What will it mean for schools that actually do not have enough teachers to meet new demand?

Panelists include Moderator Casey Lartigue (Cato Institute), Gregory Fossedal (Alexis de Tocqueville Institution and Associate Editor of, Mike Petrilli (Associate Deputy Undersecretary, Office of Innovation and Improvement, U.S. Department of Education), J.C. Bowman, Ph.D.(Florida Choice Director Department of Education). Gregory Fossedal authored Direct Democracy in Switzerland.

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