The History of a Public Controversy Contract

The History of a Public Controversy

Group Members: Emma Barber, Noelia Ortiz-Landazabal, Ava Self, Anushka Shah, Taylor Young, Anna Zuckerman

Topic: Segregation in Schools

Segregation in Schools

Working Thesis: Segregation in schools is a problem in the public-schools of the USA, so we want to show how this is a prevalent issue, which not only happens among schools, but also within classes


What is the controversy? (Does it exist? Yes/No How do we know it’s a controversy? Explain.)

  1. Current state of segregation in schools
    1. How did we get here?
    2. How did it arise?
    3. What has influenced it?
  2. Legislation regarding segregation
    1. Bussing
    2. Magnet schools
  3. How does segregation affect students?
    1. Achievement gap
    2. Access to resources
    3. Quality of life
  4. How is this going to impact the future of public school education?
    1. Betsy DeVos
    2. Vouchers
    3. School choice
  5. Explicit Examples
    1. Empirical Evidence
    2. Find schools where integration works
    3. Find schools that are segregated
  6. Address the other side of the argument; it doesn’t exist
  7. Questions that come up from research?

Division of Research

In this chart, we distribute the research among our group members to complete this aspect of the project more efficiently. To ensure overlap and thorough research of each major question, each member has been assigned at least three topics. Everyone was able to pick their own topics to research, so all group members have had a say in this process. In addition to researching, we will summarize and take notes from our research and add that material to a separate folder for research.

Research Topic Group Members
History of school segregation? Anna Taylor Ava
Legislation on school segregation? Anna Noelia Emma
How does segregation affect students? Noelia Ava Emma
How is it going to impact the future of public school education? Ava Anushka Taylor
Explicit Examples: Noelia Emma Anushka
Other side: It doesn’t exist: Anna Anushka Taylor
Other that arises from research Free to anyone Free to anyone Free to anyone


Member Roles

In this chart, we have assigned two people to serve as the team leaders for each major part of the assignment. These roles do not mean that we will not work together on all aspects, rather they help to better organize the structure of our group, so we can accomplish each task more efficiently.

Task Team Leaders
Organizing Research Emma Anushka
Writing Script/Story board Ava Taylor
Filming Video Anna Noelia
Editing Video Everyone Everyone


Paradigm Shift Essay

Taylor Marie Young

ENGL137, Section 008

Mrs. Teresa Hamilton

27 October 2017

No Child Left Behind: An Increased Emphasis on Standards and Accountability and What It Means for Education in the United States

The main goal of public schools in the United States is to provide an equal education for all students. With the endless factors influencing students’ educational experience, such as socioeconomic status, race, and gender, this proves to be a lofty goal, especially when most of the variables are out of the control of schools. Despite the diverse backgrounds that students are raised in, which affect their academic performance, the educational system holds schools accountable to the concept of achieving equality of educational opportunity. Achieving this idea would result in a successful educational system that not only values its students’ success, but also equality. However, when it comes to determining whether or not schools are making progress towards equality of educational opportunity, it proves to be a major challenge for the government to decide not only how, but also what to measure. The various approaches, such as focusing on access, classical curriculum, differential curriculum, and desegregated schooling, are constantly shifting; however, the most significant and recent change regarding meeting standards and the idea of accountability in schools was sparked by the 2002 enactment of No Child Left Behind. With the goal of achieving equality of educational opportunity, the educational system in the United States initially focused on the issue of inputs; however, since the passage of No Child Left Behind, the system now places a much larger emphasis on outcomes, placing a higher demand on standards and accountability that ultimately negatively impact schools and education in general.

From Inputs to Outputs: How No Child Left Behind Has Shifted Education

To ensure that at all students receive an equal education, an emphasis was placed on inputs. If every student receives the same thing, they are sure to receive the same education. This idea is corroborated through the desegregation of schools, because throughout “a twenty-year period during the 1970s and 1980s, African-American children in public schools made steady progress, cutting the achievement gap between themselves and whites roughly in half on the widely respected National Assessment of Educational Progress” (Taylor 1751). If it was not for Brown v. Board of Education determining that the segregation of schools was unconstitutional, black students would be denied their rights to access the same education that white students were provided with.

While the desegregation of schools proved to decrease the prior educational inequalities, there was still room for improvement. In the mid-1960s, the government’s focus started to shift towards the performance, or outputs, of children in poverty and of color. Legislation much like Title I of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, which strived to bring “economically disadvantaged children only up to basic levels” and its 1994 reform to achieve higher performance in the Improving America’s Schools Act signaled the approaching revolution in education (Taylor 1753-1754). Coming to the conclusion that equality of educational opportunity would be achieved if all students, regardless of socioeconomic status, race, gender, or any other influential variables, could reach the same level of performance or higher, the federal government’s enactment of No Child Left Behind produced one the most significant shifts in the history of public- school education in the United States.

Before this legislation, “there was little or no ability to compare the performance of students within the same school system, much less students within the same state” (Johnston 196). Given the emphasis on ensuring that the inputs for students were equalized, this makes sense; it was assumed that successful education was defined as providing students with the same schools, the same curriculum, the same materials, and the same opportunities. However, focusing on the inputs is only half of the process, because without analyzing and interpreting the outputs, it’s impossible to gauge whether or not access can truly be considered equal. This is what No Child Left Behind attempts to accomplish by requiring “each state to create academic standards, to use standardized tests aligned to those standards, and to publish that data for public consumption” (Johnston 196).

“To account for improvement in the academic achievement of all students” (Duran 80), furthering the demonstration of the shift of the emphasis on outputs, No Child Left Behind was designed and enacted in a consequential format. The legislation requires states to develop not only content that defines “the skills and knowledge that all students are expected to obtain and be able to demonstrate”, but also performance standards, which “define proficiency levels for skills and knowledge, which are required to be measured and determined through the use of standards-based assessments” (Duran 80). To hold each state and their respective schools accountable for meeting the standards, No Child Left Behind requires that schools show Academic Yearly Progress “by increasing the percentages of students who are able to demonstrate proficiency on annual standards-based assessments” (Duran 80). If a school does not exhibit the minimum Academic Yearly Progress requirements, it could experience sanctions and consequences, which is meant to encourage “reform efforts that produce significant, sustained, and continued improvements in the academic achievement of their students for fear of losing federal funding or losing authority to manage and operate their schools” (Duran 94).

Because No Child Left Behind has “turned to quantitative performance indicators to hold schools accountable for students’ performance” (Jennings 227), which are reinforced by possible consequences and sanctions, the stakes to meet standards are much higher than when the focus was on inputs. Despite the conviction that inputs were producing equality of educational opportunity, the data collected and published by schools throughout the country shortly after the enactment of No Child Left Behind proved that this was not the case, as “this information spotlighted the persistent achievement gaps between affluent and low-income students” (Johnston 196). This data not only confirms the need to analyze and interpret outputs, but also strengthens and validates the major shift in education towards accountability and standards that No Child Left Behind presented.

Implications: How No Child Left Behind Damages Schools and Education Itself

A surface level analysis of No Child Left behind would lead one to believe that the legislation sparked a positive shift in how we view achieving equality of educational opportunity. While the act brings forth the importance of not only ensuring the equality of inputs, but also analyzing and interpreting the outputs that they produce, No Child Left Behind has impacted the deep roots of education. The idea “that the nation’s education system should be accountable for its results” is certainly plausible and should be considered intensely (Johnston 196); however, because of the severity of the consequences and sanctions that the legislation presents, it has caused an unhealthy emphasis on standards and accountability that ultimately damages schools and education itself. No Child Left Behind has associated education with numbers, a detrimental association that “focuses on strategic behavior that creates the illusion of improvement, sometimes referred to as ‘gaming the system’” (Jennings 228).

Damaging Schools

The two major components of a school are the students and the teachers. In the most basic interpretation, school is a place where teachers teach students; however, this explanation is more complex when other factors are added. With the addition of No Child Left Behind, not only are teachers held accountable to standards, but also students, but more often than not, “schools face the possibility of confronting consequences and sanctions based on interpretations and uses of results that may be invalid, unreliable, ungeneralizable, and of little value or utility” (Duran 76). The negative effects of the legislation’s requirements and demand for accountability and standards are exemplified through the concept of Academic Yearly Progress.

Despite the endless factors to consider when evaluating and comparing reported data by schools, “the degree to which a school is looked upon as effective is generally determined by where it ranks in comparison to other schools based on standardized assessment results” (Duran 83). This type of rank ordering does not account for two important factors: variables outside of the school’s control and good instruction insensitive to measuring change (Duran 84). Schools have little power over the population of students tested each year, and it is important to avoid any assumptions that the current group of students has the same strengths and weaknesses as the previous group. Despite this reality, this assumption is still being made when “determining the level or degree of school effectiveness” is based off of their rank (Duran 83). In addition, reporting data that does not represent growth from the previous year may not account for the fact that “good instruction occurred but the test was insensitive to measuring change” (Duran 84). With the method of simply ranking scores based on the positive or negative change in relation to the previous year, a school with highly effective instruction may be ranked lower compared to other schools if they did not report as drastic of a change in test scores for the given year.

Damaging Education Itself

Shifting the idea of how to attain equality of educational opportunity towards students’ outputs, No Child Left Behind requires the entire process of administering education to be rethought. If schools and states are going to be accountable and meet the necessary standards, education itself must revolve around meeting the requirements of the legislation. As a result of the strict, yet ill-defined, requirements of No Child Left Behind that require states to create content and performance standards, the heavy weight associated with the state standards significantly influences education itself through curriculum and instruction and the idea of equity and access to educational opportunity (Darling-Hammond 7-8).

Because states are required to publish the data from their standardized tests that reflect the respective academic standards (Johnston 196), the education provided throughout the academic year will ultimately be crafted in a way that ensures students produce the desired scores. Such educational effect exemplifies “the recognition that assessment, especially when it is used for decision-making purposes, exerts powerful influences on curriculum and instruction” (Darling-Hammond 7-8). With that said, the value of curriculum and instruction deteriorates in the midst of the emphasis on achieving proficiency in state standardized tests. Not only that, but standardized “tests generally do not reflect the actual tasks educators and citizens expect students to be able to perform, nor do they stimulate forms of instruction that are closely connected to development of performance abilities” (Darling-Hammond 11-12). If curriculum and instruction are heavily influenced by the requirements of No Child Left Behind, the quality of education being provided to students is questionable, because it does not even reflect what society expects learners to be taught.

No Child Left Behind reinforced the shift towards an emphasis on students’ outputs in education; however, the legislation’s requirements “addresses concerns about equity and access to educational opportunity” (Darling-Hammond 8). Just as standardized tests influence curriculum and instruction, they also impact students’ learning opportunities. To ensure that accountability and standard requirements are met, data is often manipulated by “tracking students into different courses, levels, and kinds of instructional programs” (Darling-Hammond 8). Tracking students results in lasting effects not only in the range of their life choices and ways to exhibit capability, but also limiting their access to additional learning experiences (Darling-Hammond 8-9). When education that promotes growth and opportunities for all students is compromised at the expense of accountability and standard requirements outlined by No Child Left Behind, its value has undoubtedly been diminished.

Ensuring that all students receive an equal education is a major goal when it comes to public-schools in the United States. One of the ways to achieve this is by holding schools accountable and having high standards. It makes sense. If schools are going to have high expectations for students, then the educational system should have high expectations for schools. This was the foundation of No Child Left Behind, and the legislation succeeded in displaying “the persistent achievement gaps between affluent and low-income students” (Johnston 196). While No Child Left Behind aimed to expose the achievement gap and create an incentive for schools to improve education in a way that would result in equal outputs, it was written and implemented in a way that not only resulted in a drastic shift in education, but also detrimental effects to schools and education itself. No Child Left Behind has made a lasting effect in education with regards to the emphasis on standards and accountability, and the legislation’s consequences, sanctions, and lack of interpretation of results prove why it failed to achieve equality of educational opportunity. However, No Child Left Behind has demonstrated an important lesson: the power of legislation. If a single piece of legislation had the power to cause a tectonic shift in education from inputs to outputs, then one could only imagine the power of its more effective counterpart. With that said, not only do extensive amounts of time and effort need to be woven into legislation, but also passion and experience.



Works Cited

Darling-Hammond, Linda. “Performance-Based Assessment and Educational

Equity.” Harvard Educational Review, vol. 64, no. 1, Apr. 1994, pp. 5–31. Harvard Education Publishing Group.

Duran, Alex. “Factors to Consider When Evaluating School Accountability Results.” Journal

 of Law & Education 34.1 (2005): 73-100.

Jennings, Jennifer L. “School Choice or Schools’ Choice? Managing in an Era of

Accountability.” Sociology of Education, vol. 83, no. 3, 2010, pp. 227–247. JSTOR,


Johnston, Mike. “From Regulation to Results: Shifting American Education from Inputs to

Outcomes.” Yale Law & Policy Review 30.1 (2011): 195-210.

Taylor, William L. “Title I as an Instrument for Achieving Desegregation and Equal

Educational Opportunity.” North Carolina Law Review 81.4 (2003): 1751-1770.

Ted Talk Script Draft

TED Talk Outline


Standards and Accountability in the United States Education System


Explain how No Child Left Behind did not interpret reported data from schools correctly.


No Child Left Behind incorrectly interpreted data reported by schools not only by lacking to consider the factors affecting the results, but also judging their effectivity and success based upon a very surface level rank order system.


  • Let’s take two imaginary high schools. One is called Penn State and the other is Michigan.
  • Penn State is ranked 41st and Michigan is ranked 40th in the state based off of reported 8th grade math results.
  • Penn State’s reported mean score was 66.5 and Michigan’s was 68.
  • At first glance, Michigan looks like the better high school, since it’s ranked better than Penn State.
  • But should we trust this conclusion?
  • Let’s look at last year’s scores.
  • Penn State reported 42 and Michigan 72.
  • Penn State made significant improvement over the year, and Michigan got decreased their improvement.
  • Somehow Michigan gets ranked higher than us, even though we’re showing evidence of more growth.
  • How does this make sense? That’s the thing, it doesn’t.
  • This exact scenario is what happened to schools as a result of No Child Left Behind.
  • I’ve wanted to be a public-school teacher for as long as I can remember, and I believe in the importance of equal education.
  • One of the ways we’re going to achieve this is holding schools accountable and having high standards. I think this is very important.
  • While No Child Left Behind aimed to reach this very goal, it was written and implemented in a way that not only resulted in a drastic shift in education, but also detrimental effects to schools and education itself.


  • Main Idea– Variables
    • No Child Left Behind did not take into consideration the endless variables that are bound to change the scores reported each year
      • Factors not within the control of schools
        • The particular group of students tested in a given school year
        • School size
        • Corruption of indicators
      • Manipulation to better scores
        • Over identification of students into special ed. programs to create exemptions from accountability
        • Greater likelihood of classifying English Language Learners as special ed. once their English language window expired
  • Main Idea– Ranking
    • A concept called Academic Yearly Progress was determined by rank ordering schools based on assessment results
      • Schools are labeled based off of their results
        • If ranked at the top, a school is successful and effective
        • If ranked at the bottom, a school is unsuccessful and ineffective
      • Repercussions for not attaining AYP
        • Consequences
        • Sanctions


  • No Child Left Behind had good intentions, but the actual piece of legislation was a mess.
  • Ensuring that schools are providing equal educational opportunities is crucial.
  • Labeling schools as effective and successful based off of a single number like No Child Left Behind did is exactly what we’re taught not to do in schools
  • Critical thinking skills are always emphasized, because there’s always more to the story than just what is presented at the surface level
  • If we truly want education to be equal, which I know we all do, then we need to dig deeper when it comes to educational legislation
  • When a single piece of legislation can not only affect our schools, but also the roots of education itself, it shows just how much time, effort, passion, and experience we need to weave into our legislation.


  • Duran, Alex. “Factors to Consider When Evaluating School Accountability Results.” Journal of Law & Education 34.1 (2005): 73-100.

Paradigm Shift Essay Outline

Paradigm Shift Essay Outline

  1. Introduction
    1. Discuss the state of our educational system
    2. Explain what the concept of equality of educational opportunity is and where/how it developed
    3. Identify the shift
    4. Thesis: With the goal of achieving equality of educational opportunity, the educational system in the United States initially focused on the issue of access; however, as the perception of equality has evolved, the system now places a much larger emphasis on equality of results, negatively impacting the environment of public schools.
  2. Access
    1. Evidence
    2. Example
    3. Argument
    4. Tries to ensure that if everyone has the same education, students will be educated equally
  3. Prove the shift
    1. Evidence
    2. Example
    3. Argument
  4. Equality of Results
    1. Evidence
    2. Example
    3. Argument
    4. Tries to ensure that despite the inputs, students’ outputs will be equal
  5. Causes and Implications of Equality of Results
    1. Unrealistic standards of accountability
      1. Evidence/Example
    2. Stress/anxiety for students and educators
      1. Evidence/Example
    3. Students/Educators seen as numbers
      1. Evidence/Example
  6. Conclusion
    1. Equality of results should not be used to achieve equality of educational opportunity
    2. There are too many variables contributing to a students’ performance
    3. Equality of Results negatively impacts the purpose of education
    4. There needs to be a new way to ensure equality of educational opportunity

Photos and videos: How visuals complement writing

Complementing her writing with striking visuals, Pulitzer-Prize-winning photographer Lynsey Addario demonstrates how blending text with images not only proves to be effective, but also a great way to convey her message throughout the piece. With that said, Addario’s photos are simply stunning; it’s difficult to select two of the best from the book. However, I would have to choose the photos on the 18th and 28th page of photos after page 210.

These two photos particularly stuck out to me among the others, because they capture the extremely fragile, delicate, helpless state of a human being. Seeing these two photos, which capture a child individually and a mother among other compassionate children, evokes a true sense of empathy. With the child’s face covered in bandages from wounds, piercing eyes filled with tears and fear and a mother holding onto her child with limp arms, it’s difficult to avoid the emotional connection and response that the photos elicit.

Recognizing how influential the photos are and how they contribute to the meaning of Addario’s writing, incorporating images and videos throughout my blog posts would benefit their quality. At the end of the last two of my posts, I added photos that were related to what I described in my writing. I thought that a visual representation of my ideas would better connect my points and allow my audience to have a better understanding of what I was describing.

However, I hadn’t thought about incorporating videos in my posts. My school district has a YouTube channel called NPTV, so I could easily embed videos from their channel in my posts. Videos definitely have a unique way of capturing moments that greatly different from the concept of a photo. Seeing motion and action and hearing voices or other sounds allows the audience to live the moment vicariously through the video.

How sharing conflict plays a role in Addario’s novel

Throughout “Part III: A Kind of Balance” in It’s What I Do, Addario demonstrates how she is conflicted about the way she lives and the work she does. Despite her years of struggling to be a successful photographer and finally feeling a sense of fulfillment and security, however, Addario proves to be especially conflicted “about making money from images of people who were so desperate” in Darfur (Addario, 146).

By acknowledging the reason behind making money off of these desperate people, Addario ensures that the audience is aware of the inhumane behavior that her job involves. However, she justifies her actions; her income as a photographer will be put back directly into her work to prevent people from ignoring war. In doing so, Addario connects with her audience in a way that will allow more understanding of her overall goal.

While my conflict didn’t involve wartime photography, I had a similar conflict in my life when I was applying to study abroad in Spain for my junior year of high school. My best friend Nolan was applying for the spot, and I didn’t want my applying to convey the message that I didn’t want him to succeed and achieve his goal of studying abroad. However, in the end, Nolan and I were both selected to go, and my worries ended up being unnecessary.

While I think highlighting conflicts throughout my passion blog may be difficult given the fact that I am focusing on expressing my appreciation for North Penn School District (NPSD), doing so could show how I have benefitted from a conflict at NPSD. For example, I could talk about how failing my first test not only showed me that not everything in school can come easily, but also demonstrated that I did not master the content.

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