In the first segment:
No Child Left Behind had a controversial life. It was maligned from the right for seizing local control from school districts and boards and was was hit from the left for its punitive nature and its narrow focus on test scores.
This is probably the reason why nearly 50 percent surveyed felt it had done nothing or been bad for schools as congress was ramping back up for reauthorization back in 2007.
Now mostly defunct, can we apply any lessons from NCLB to our education system going forward?
Dr. Thomas Ahn from the University of Kentucky thinks so. In his recent analysis "Were All those Standardized Tests For Nothing? He makes a point of finding both flaws and strengths. But the report, written for the American Enterprise Institute, "a think tank committed to expanding liberty, increasing individual opportunity and strengthening free enterprise", has its detractors.
Dr. Bruce Fuller at the University of California-Berkeley wrote a review of the report for the National Education Policy Center saying it overstates the positive effects of federal pressure and punitive action, and that the report lacks a local-level understanding of the effects of NCLB.
Both Ahn and Fuller join us in conversation.
In the second segment:
Crime rates have been dropping precipitously for decades, but the U.S. continues to imprison more people than any other industrial country. The "Tough on Crime" mantra has been turned on its head and we find people turning away from mandatory minimums and going elsewhere to solve the problem of crime and recidivism.
From specialty courts -- drug courts, mental-health courts, etc. -- to pre-trial diversion, several avenues across several states are being utilized to get the number and the cost of justice down.
Two weeks ago, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder came out in support of new processes to reduce the incarceration rate in federal prisons, the only place where we have seen a surge recently.
States, it seems, have been ahead of the curve on this one, and Texas is doing more to lessen the rate as well.
We are joined by Vikrant Reddy, policy analyst for the Center for Effective Justice at the Texas Public Policy Foundation and Ana Yáñez Correa, who holds a Ph.D. in policy and planning in education administration and is executive director for the Texas Criminal Justice Coalition.
*The Source airs at 3 p.m. on KSTX 89.1 FM - audio from this show will be posted by 5:30 p.m.