When most critics of public education refer to “failing schools,” they are referring primarily to urban schools where students fail to make sufficient or expected gains on standardized tests and schools that have low graduation rates and correspondingly high dropout rates. These so-called dropout factories are failing to educate a large proportion of students successfully who live in impoverished circumstances, especially in the nation's largest cities.

These students are primarily members of minority groups (e.g., African American or Latino/a) and may be members of linguistic and ethnic minorities such as Hmong and Vietnamese. Under the policies of the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) legislation, beginning in 2001 under the administration of U.S. President George W. Bush, schools that failed to meet academic performance targets for several ...

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