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Cityscape: Volume 19 Number 1 | Education Reform in the Post-NCLB Era: Lessons Learned for Transforming Urban Public Education


The goal of Cityscape is to bring high-quality original research on housing and community development issues to scholars, government officials, and practitioners. Cityscape is open to all relevant disciplines, including architecture, consumer research, demography, economics, engineering, ethnography, finance, geography, law, planning, political science, public policy, regional science, sociology, statistics, and urban studies.

Cityscape is published three times a year by the Office of Policy Development and Research (PD&R) of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

Transforming Communities

Volume 19, Number 1

Mark D. Shroder

Michelle P. Matuga

Education Reform in the Post-NCLB Era: Lessons Learned for Transforming Urban Public Education

Matthew P. Steinberg
Rand Quinn
University of Pennsylvania

During the past 15 years, new education policies have led to a host of reforms throughout the country, spanning everything from standardized accountability and class size reduction to school choice and merit pay. Which of these reforms have actually worked to improve the lives of students in the nation’s urban schools—and which have failed to live up to expectations despite the best intentions? This article explores how education policy reforms in large urban districts can expand opportunity. In particular, we focus on what is known about the evidence-based outcomes of four major education reform initiatives: (1) investments in early childhood education; (2) human capital policies; (3) accountability, standards, and assessment; and (4) market-based reforms and school choice. We aim to inform policymakers, school leaders, and the public on critical issues in contemporary school reform, and the extent to which these efforts have improved the educational conditions in our major urban districts.

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