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JSPES, Vol. 33, No. 3 (Fall 2008)
pp. 295-327

Educational Quagmire: The High Cost of Ignoring Biophysical and Ecological Factors

Ralph Scott

University of Northern Iowa

Recognizing that academic competencies are fundamental to a productive society, American policymakers and educators have, since the landmark Brown (1954-55) school desegregation ruling, placed high priority on closing the racial achievement gap (RAG). At all government levels – federal, state, and local – successive waves of school reforms have funneled resources into within-school reforms. In so doing, the impact of broad ecological and biophysical influences on human development and learning have been virtually if not totally ignored. Therefore and similar to programming reforms since the 1950s, the most recent federal initiative, No Child Left Behind (NCLB), is constructed on failed theoretical templates. The paper reviews schooling reforms upon which NCLB is based, in the context of the program’s continued political popularity which contrasts with failure to narrow the RAG. Future projections of American educational productivity, and the subsequent need for dramatic school reforms.