No Subject Left Behind: How to Stick Up for Subjects that Fewer and Fewer Students Get a Chance to Learn

Publication Date: January 2008

Publisher: Hoover Institution on War, Revolution, and Peace

Author(s): Diane Ravitch

Research Area: Education

Keywords: No Child Left Behind; Education

Type: Report

Coverage: United States


In 1987, Diane Ravitch co-wrote a book titled What Do Our 17-Year-Olds Know? It was a report on the first national assessment of history and literature, which was administered to a national sample of high school seniors in 1986 by a federal agency (the National Assessment of Educational Progress); almost all the test takers had recently finished or were completing a one-year course in U.S. history.

Though not strictly comparable, this article compares the findings of the 1986 report to the findings of an abbreviated reprise of the study conducted in 2007. The author examines the consequences of No Child Left Behind and its emphasis on basic skills while all but eliminating subjects that have been "left behind" such as history, literature and the arts.