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Open to the Public, Speaking Out on "No Child Left Behind": A Summary of Nine Hearings


"No Child Left Behind has generated an often-heated public debate, probably the most intense discussion of public education policy in the last half-century. For the most part, the reported discussions have been among leaders of education organizations and elected officials. There has been little attempt to find out what students, parents, community members and the public think about the law.

To find out, Public Education Network fanned across the country from May to October 2004 and held a series of hearings in eight states [and] conducted an online survey to which some 12,000 people responded.

[The hearing and surveys showed that] the public wants NCLB to meet its goals [and] also revealed that the public has serious concerns about the way the law is being implemented. ...In this letter, we want to share with you some of the key findings from the hearings and the survey, and to suggest ways that NCLB can be improved. These suggested changes would make it more likely that our collective goals would be achieved, and that the law would receive the full support of the American people."