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Gary M. Ratner
Gary M. Ratner is the author of Why The No Child Left Behind Act Needs To Be Restructured To Accomplish Its Goals and How To Do It and is the founder and Executive Director of Citizens for Effective Schools. He has been a nationally recognized authority on school reform law and policy for over 20 years. Mr. Ratner is a principal drafter of the Joint Organizational Statement on No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Act, the policy statement now endorsed by more than 150 national organizations, including NAACP, National School Boards Association, National Council of Churches, NEA and National Parent Teacher Association. Mr. Ratner won a Presidential Rank Award as a senior executive at the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, was a top assistant to the Secretary of Health, Education and Welfare.

Entries by Gary M. Ratner

States' Crucial Choice Under New Federal Education Law: Selecting the Best Survey to Measure and Improve School Quality

(0) Comments | Posted May 25, 2016 | 9:48 AM

By recently replacing the failed No Child Left Behind with Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), Congress has created a huge opportunity for States. They can dramatically improve America's low-achieving public schools -- if the States choose wisely. If they don't, millions more disadvantaged children would be unjustifiably and discriminatorily left...

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Open Letter to States and Localities: How to Implement "Every Student Succeeds" to Significantly Improve Low-achieving Schools

(0) Comments | Posted January 31, 2016 | 3:07 PM

For 15 years, No Child Left Behind (NCLB) increasingly cast a pall over American public schools. Its punitive, rigid and misconceived accountability system left millions of disadvantaged students behind.

Thankfully in December, Congress replaced NCLB. "Every Student Succeeds Act" (ESSA) breaks NCLB's link between tests and sanctions.

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Senate's ESEA Challenge: Strengthen Accountability to Help Schools Improve, Not Perpetuate Test-driven Accountability

(0) Comments | Posted July 6, 2015 | 6:57 PM

If we've learned anything from the failure of No Child Left Behind (NCLB), it should be that NCLB's accountability strategy -- pressuring schools to continuously raise standardized test scores -- doesn't work. NCLB's accountability system is based on false premises has grossly failed to achieve its purposes...

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Congressional Education Reauthorization: Urgent Need for School Leadership Academy Program

(13) Comments | Posted March 17, 2015 | 11:19 AM

Let's cut to the chase.

If America is serious about effectively educating the millions of disadvantaged children in its lowest-achieving schools, it must transform these schools so that they engage their students' interests and effectively teach them a challenging curriculum. To do that, we must have principals capable of...

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Answering Chairman Alexander's Two Critical Questions for Congressional Education Reauthorization

(0) Comments | Posted February 22, 2015 | 4:00 PM

When something goes well in Washington these days, it's worth noting. Republicans and Democrats now agree that the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) - the current name of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) - has failed to achieve its goals and needs to be fixed. Especially since...

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Principled, Sound Middle Way to Education Reauthorization

(0) Comments | Posted November 4, 2013 | 1:04 PM

Now that the shutdown logjam is resolved, some House Republicans publicly call for negotiating with Democrats, and President Obama urges bipartisan compromise, it's time for the parties to accept an olive branch recently offered by Secretary of Education Arne Duncan. One way for Congress to break its six year partisan...

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After NCLB? Emerging Strategy Shift

(3) Comments | Posted September 10, 2013 | 12:41 PM

America's high-stakes testing based "school reform" movement of the last two decades is currently being tried in the court of public opinion. Increasingly, it's being judged as failing.

Many states and local communities have already spoken out against key accountability mandates of the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) --...

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What's Wrong with Romney's Massive Federal School Voucher Proposal and What Should Congress Do Instead?

(0) Comments | Posted October 12, 2012 | 11:09 AM

In this election cycle, Mitt Romney's desire to turn Medicare into a voucher program has gotten a lot of attention. Much less discussed is his desire to do likewise with the two largest federal K-12 grant programs to states and localities - Title I of ESEA for low income students...

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What's Necessary for Congress to 'Get It Right' on School Turnarounds?

(0) Comments | Posted February 8, 2012 | 12:39 PM

As the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) reauthorization has been repeatedly delayed, a recurrent justification on Capitol Hill has been that it is more important to "get it right" than to do it quickly. One of the most critical areas where Congress needs to "get it right" is overhauling...

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NCLB Waivers Should Not Be Unconditional: New Accountability Strategy Needed

(8) Comments | Posted August 25, 2011 | 11:02 AM

Focus on Common Elements of Successful School Turnarounds Must be Included

As Secretary of Education Arne Duncan says, the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) "is creating a slow-motion train wreck for children, parents and teachers." This is due particularly to NCLB's unrealistic, ineffective, punitive and

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Where's the Evidence? Serious Inadequacy of 'Race To The Top' School Turnaround Models

(7) Comments | Posted May 24, 2011 | 12:02 PM

Imagine if America could actually turn around its 5,000 lowest-achieving public schools and within five years -- as the Obama administration proposes to do through Race To The Top (RTTT) and similar grant programs. It would unquestionably be a huge victory -- both for millions of America's most disadvantaged students...

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How to Overhaul NCLB to Help Schools Improve: Implement Common Elements of Success

(5) Comments | Posted March 23, 2011 | 3:24 PM

We have already seen that NCLB's "tests and sanctions" theory of change rests on false premises and causes harmful effects.

A vast number of Title I-funded schools do not currently have the staff capacity to effectively teach their diverse and disproportionately disadvantaged students an intellectually challenging curriculum,...

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What's Wrong with NCLB? False Premises and Harmful Effects

(212) Comments | Posted March 6, 2011 | 11:25 PM

Now that President Obama has put reauthorizing the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA)/ No Child Left Behind (NCLB) on the front burner and it is widely recognized that NCLB is failing to achieve its goals, the critical question is how should it be restructured.

As Senators Michael Enzi (Wyo.)...

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