No Child Left Behind? How Schools Neglect High Achievers

A new study shows that by focusing so much on bringing low achievers to proficiency, we're stunting the potential of academically advanced kids.

For the past decade, closing the achievement gap and ensuring no child is left behind has dominated the education reform conversation. But what happens to the already high-achieving students—the gifted ones reading far above grade level? The latest study from the Thomas B. Fordham Institute shows that over the long haul, these students have a tough time maintaining their stellar achievement track records and often fail to improve academically.

Conducted by analysts from Northwest Evaluation Association, the study examined more than 120,000 students attending more than 1,500 schools nationwide. By following the progress of one group of students in both reading and math from third to eighth grade, and a second group's progress from sixth to 10th grade, the researchers found that nearly half failed to maintain their elite academic performance.

Part of the problem high-achieving students face is that many schools are so focused on achieving proficiency on standardized tests that they forget about the students seeking to truly excel. Depending on the test, proficiency may require only answering 50 to 70 percent of the questions correctly. Students, including those that are academically gifted, are applauded for hitting that relatively low mark, which can show them that nothing greater is expected and thus accidentally encourage them to stop pushing themselves.

In addition, thanks to No Child Left Behind, schools face serious consequences—like being shut down or having the entire staff fired—if they fail to boost low-achieving students up to that proficiency benchmark. Budget cuts have reduced special programs for academically advanced kids and class sizes have increased, so there's only so much a single teacher can do to meet the needs of all students. That means high-achieving students that are already at or above proficient end up not receiving the attention they need to excel further.

The study's authors recommend reintroducing supports for the most gifted students and reforming the proficiency measures and consequences in NCLB. With the bill up for re-authorization, taking the needs of gifted students into account is essential. After all, stunting the potential of academically advanced students is just as wrong as allowing struggling students to continue to fail.

Photo via (cc) Flickr user West Point Public Affairs

Center for American Progress Action Fund

Tonight's Democratic debate is a must-watch for followers of the 2020 election. And it's a nice distraction from the impeachment inquiry currently enveloping all of the political oxygen in America right now.

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via Around the NFL / Twitter

After three years on the sidelines, Colin Kapernick will be working out for multiple NFL teams on Saturday, November 16 at the Atlanta Falcons facility.

The former 49er quarterback who inflamed the culture wars by peacefully protesting against social injustice during the national anthem made the announcement on Twitter Tuesday.

Kaepernick is scheduled for a 15-minute on-field workout and an interview that will be recorded and sent to all 32 teams. The Miami Dolphins, Dallas Cowboys, and Detroit Lions are expected to have representatives in attendance.

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"We like our quarterback situation right now," Miami head coach, Brian Flores said. "We're going to do our due diligence."

NFL Insider Steve Wyche believes that the workout is the NFL's response to multiple teams inquiring about the 32-year-old quarterback. A league-wide workout would help to mitigate any potential political backlash that any one team may face for making an overture to the controversial figure.

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Earlier this year, Kaepernick and Carolina Panthers safety Eric Reid reached a financial settlement with the league in a joint collusion complaint. The players alleged that the league conspired to keep them out after they began kneeling during the national anthem in 2016.

Before the 2019 season, Kaepernick posted a video of himself working out on twitter to show he was in great physical condition and ready to play.

Kaepnick took the 49ers to the Super Bowl in 2012 and the NFC Championship game in 2013.

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