By Patrick McGuinn

This chapter will examine New Jersey’s experiences with implementing No Child Left Behind to better illuminate the impact that the law is having on education reform in the state. First, it will provide a brief overview of the historical evolution of education reform and the contemporary policy context in the garden state. Then it will describe the state’s general efforts to implement NCLB during the law’s first five years of existence. Finally, the chapter will analyze the application of NCLB’s cascade of remedies and sanctions for schools that have failed to meet Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) in successive years. It will pay particular attention to the ways in which school choice, supplemental educational services (SES), and corrective action and restructuring have functioned in practice—to ascertain the challenges and possibilities presented by these parts of the law as they have operated on the ground. The observations here are drawn from an analysis of U.S. and NJ Department of Education (NJDOE) reports and guidance, newspaper coverage, and interviews with officials from school districts, education organizations, SES providers, the state NCLB Advisory Council, and the NJDOE (see appendix).

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