How to Fix No Child Left Behind

The landmark law reshaped public education and made schools accountable. But it is flawed. Here's our report card

Alex Tehrani for TIME

Left to right, third grade student, Phillip Armstrong, teacher, Mr. Kennard Branch, and student, William Givens take part in Math explorations during class at M. Hall Stanton School in Philadelphia, PA. in March of 2007.

It's countdown time in Philadelphia's public schools. Just 21 days remain before the state reading and math tests in March, and the kids and faculty at James G. Blaine Elementary, an all-black, inner-city school that spans pre-K to eighth grade, have been drilling for much of the day. At 2:45 in the afternoon, Rasheed Abdullah, the kinetic lead math teacher, stages what could be called a prep rally with 11 third-graders. The kids, who are at neither the top nor the bottom of their class, have been selected for intensive review--as has a contingent from other grades--because their test scores hold...

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