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Journal of Economic Perspectives: Vol. 24 No. 3 (Summer 2010)


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Teachers' Views on No Child Left Behind: Support for the Principles, Concerns about the Practices

Article Citation

Murnane, Richard J., and John P. Papay. 2010. "Teachers' Views on No Child Left Behind: Support for the Principles, Concerns about the Practices." Journal of Economic Perspectives, 24(3): 151-66.

DOI: 10.1257/jep.24.3.151


In this article, we describe teachers' views of the behavioral responses the No Child Left Behind legislation has elicited and the extent to which research reveals evidence of these responses and their effects on the distribution of student achievement. We focus on teachers' reactions to three aspects of NCLB that are particularly relevant to them: 1) the testing requirements and the rules determining "Adequate Yearly Progress" (AYP) under NCLB; 2) the sanctions imposed on schools that fail to meet AYP; and 3) the requirement that all teachers of core academic subjects be "highly qualified" in their areas of teaching assignment. Overall, we find that teachers overwhelmingly support the principles underlying the No Child Left Behind legislation, including that schools should be held accountable for educating all children well. However, teachers are concerned that the incentives created by some provisions of the law have elicited unintended responses that reduce the quality of education provided to at least some children.

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Murnane, Richard J. (Harvard U)
Papay, John P. (Harvard U)

JEL Classifications

H52: National Government Expenditures and Education
H75: State and Local Government: Health, Education, and Welfare
I21: Analysis of Education
I28: Education: Government Policy
J45: Public Sector Labor Markets


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