Jal Mehta

Jal Mehta is a post-doctoral fellow at the Harvard Graduate School of Education.

Recent Articles

Standard Error

A biography of Al Shanker traces his fight for school reform. But testing created accountability at the expense of education. Linda Perlstein's story of one school shows us just how truly terrible this is.

Tough Liberal: Albert Shanker and the Battles Over Schools, Unions, Race, and Democracy by Richard D. Kahlenberg (Columbia University Press, 524 pages, $29.95) Tested: One American School Struggles to Make the Grade by Linda Perlstein (Henry Holt and Company, 302 pages, $25.00 ) The educational standards movement has made strange bedfellows. Its staunchest champion has been a conservative Republican president who is proudly incurious and anti-intellectual, but the movement has also attracted support from many Democrats and advocates of minority rights who want to use testing to hold schools accountable and advance equality in education. The passage of No Child Left Behind (NCLB) -- the 2001 law aimed at reducing the educational achievement gap -- is the movement's major accomplishment and George W. Bush's principal legacy in domestic policy. As Bush's presidency comes to a close, it is an apt time to ask whether NCLB has been a good thing for education. There was probably no stranger...