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[Susan notes: Francis Schrag proposes a great medical model for educators to follow: consider the very damaging side effects of NCLB.]

Published in New York Times

To the editor

Re “New Study Finds Gains Since No Child Left Behind” (Education page, June 6):

The problem of judging whether the law has had a beneficial impact on students is greater than you report. Leaving aside the problems of determining whether there has been a gain and, if so, of attributing it to the legislation, note the question the Center on Education Policy did not even address: What side effects did the law produce?

News coverage of controversies over medications has highlighted the importance of considering the side effects of drugs. Educational evaluators need to catch up with their medical colleagues and consider the impact of No Child Left Behind on such important outcomes as achievement in subjects not tested and continuing motivation to learn in all subjects.

Until they do, the only reasonable attitude is to withhold judgment.

The writer is emeritus professor of education, University of Wisconsin.

Francis Schrag

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