Book Review

The Challenges of No Child Left Behind: Understanding the Issues of Excellence, Accountability, and Choice

by E. Jane Irons and Sandra Harris, Rowman and Littlefield Education, Lanham, Md., 2006, 170 pp., $50 hardcover, $22.95 softcover

For educators who are going into school administration, The Challenges of No Child Left Behind: Understanding the Issues of Excellence, Accountability, and Choice by E. Jane Irons and Sandra Harris provides relevant history of NCLB and the expectation of excellence for all students.

The book describes the type of accountability required by the federal government for all school districts as demonstrated through performance on annual assessments, campus and district expenditures, parent involvement, district student services and assurances regarding highly qualified teachers. Finally, the authors explain how the results of state assessments have immediate and long-term implications for students, parents, school staff and districts.

Irons is a professor of educational leadership and Harris serves as director for research and doctoral studies in educational leadership at Lamar University in Texas.

For the current practicing school administrator, the information in The Challenges of No Child Left Behind will be outdated due to changes that have occurred since material for the book was compiled. Most of the references cited are from 2005 issues of the trade newspaper Education Week.

However, the book’s format would make it useful for students in an educational leadership class. Each of the nine chapters begins with a quote relating to the theme of change and ends with reflection questions and web resources. The book also would be helpful to novice school board members who need to familiarize themselves with NCLB.

Reviewed by Lylia King, principal, Smith Middle School, Cleburne Independent School District, Cleburne, Texas