The Creation and Evolution of North Carolina's ABCs Accountability Program and the Impact of No Child Left Behind - A Case Study

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Title: The Creation and Evolution of North Carolina's ABCs Accountability Program and the Impact of No Child Left Behind - A Case Study
Author: Fabrizio, Louis Michael
Advisors: Robert C. Serow, Committee Chair
Abstract: The purpose of this study is to investigate in depth, through a case study design, the creation and evolution of North Carolina's ABCs Accountability Program and how it has been impacted by the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) legislation. There were four research questions: (1) What political and educational factors influenced the creation of the ABCs Accountability Program? (2) How has the ABCs Accountability Program changed over time? (3) What impact has NCLB had on the ABCs? and (4) How have the interrelationships of federal, state and local policymakers in education changed from the inception of the ABCs Program? Interviews (not anonymous) were conducted by an 'insider' with numerous legislative and educational leaders ('policy elites') of the state of North Carolina including, among others: James B. Hunt, Jr., former Governor; Senator Leslie Winner and Representative Jean Preston, former co-chairs of the Joint Legislative Education Oversight Committee; Dr. Beverly Perdue, current Lieutenant Governor and former state senator; Congressman Bob Etheridge, former State Superintendent of Public Instruction; Mr. Phillip Kirk, former chair of the State Board of Education (SBE); Mr. Howard Lee, Chairman of the SBE; Dr. Jane Norwood, current member of the SBE; Ms. Jane Worsham, Executive Director of the SBE staff; Dr. Weaver Rogers, former Executive Director of the SBE staff; Mr. John Wilson, former president of the North Carolina Association of Educators, Dr. James Causby, president of the North Carolina Association of School Administrators; and several high-ranking administrators of the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction including Dr. Richard Thompson, former Deputy State Superintendent of Public Instruction, and Dr. Henry Johnson, former Associate State Superintendent of Public Instruction. Interview transcripts were analyzed for common themes and the findings of the study include descriptions of several aspects of the accountability program. These include: the inception of the ABCs Accountability Program during a period of high tension among the state-elected Superintendent of Public Instruction, the SBE, and the General Assembly; education governance issues in the state; examples of changes in the program resulting from attempts to game the system; examples of changes in the program resulting from SBE and legislative decisions regarding identification of low-performing schools, labels to classify schools, changes in financial incentive structures and who can receive the financial awards, and volatile issues related to teacher testing and automatic removal of certain principals based on schools being identified as low-performing schools. The findings also describe issues related to the negotiated rulemaking process used by the United States Department of Education (USED) for establishing proposed regulations for standards and accountability under NCLB; additional changes in the ABCs Accountability Program resulting from policy directives of USED; and the effects of the Leandro court case. This study contributes to the literature for education accountability based on the historical case study of North Carolina's accountability program, offers insights into policy making and policy implementation differences between the ABCs and NCLB, describes one instance of the use of the negotiated rulemaking process in education and exposes intricacies of the interrelationships of the various levels of government related to education.
Date: 2006-03-03
Degree: PhD
Discipline: Educational Research and Policy Analysis
URI: http://www.lib.ncsu.edu/resolver/1840.16/5963


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