Sadly though, NCLB and the state accountability movements -- school report cards, frequent high stakes testing and teaching to the tests -- have widened not narrowed the gap between high poverty schools and those in more privileged neighborhoods. Consider the following two Oregon schools of approximately the same size:
As you undoubtedly guessed, School A is in a privileged part of Oregon. The Free and Reduced Lunch rate (how poverty is measured in schools) is just 4%. At School B, 79% of students qualify for lunch subsidies. The wealthier families can rejoice that their students are treated to appropriate music, art and PE as well as science and social studies instruction. The poorer ones see their children come home bored and frustrated from their test-centered curriculum. Both schools are predominantly white.
If you fast forward to middle and high school, similar patterns emerge. Resources in our poorer schools are spent on reading specialists, special education, ESL instruction and remedial support. In our wealthier schools, AP classes, multiple foreign languages (School A's high school offers 4 languages; School B's offers 1) and richer music offerings excite learners.
See also: Boring!