Graduation Year

Spring 2013

Document Type

Campus Only Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts



Reader 1

Frederick Lynch

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Rights Information

© 2013 Aubrey A. Zimmerling


When Democrats and Republicans crafted the 2002 No Child Left Behind (NCLB), the bipartisan reauthorization of the 1965 Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), they did so with the best of intentions: Close our nation’s staggering achievement gap with federal leadership, accountability, flexibility, and choice. But a over a decade later, many argue the law’s flaws have outweighed its successes to detriment of our public education system, schools, teachers, and most importantly, our students. In accordance with ESEA’s traditional reauthorization cycle, NCLB was signed into law in 2002 and expired in 2007. It is now 2013, and our nation’s education policy still has yet to be reauthorized. In examining how this can be accomplished, this paper first demonstrates how our tradition of local school control developed into one of dual jurisdiction. It then examines the executive and legislative battle that produced NCLB in the 107th Congress. Next, this paper analyzes the intended and unintended consequences of NCLB, which include conflicting conservative and liberal mechanisms, perverse incentives, narrowing and homogenizing education, inadequate resources, ignoring community issues, and seeking annual educational profit over qualitative learning. The paper concludes with an outlook on reauthorization–how NCLB should be substantively improved, as well as, the political context in which this reauthorization will occur.

This thesis is restricted to the Claremont Colleges current faculty, students, and staff.