Editor's Note

Brittney Bain, Editor of The Catalyst

We’ve made progress in the years since No Child Left Behind was passed, but the racial equity gap in education still exists — and COVID threatens to widen it.

The academic performance of our nation’s students has been alarming for some time, and the concept for this issue of The Catalyst is always on our minds at the Bush Institute. With the national conversation we’re having now on racial justice and equity, and COVID affecting the school year ahead, an honest conversation about American public education is even more relevant.

To hold schools accountable for student outcomes, President George W. Bush announced “No Child Left Behind” nearly 20 years ago, calling achievement gaps that fall along racial and socioeconomic lines, “the soft bigotry of low expectations.” While progress has been made, some troubling and significant gaps remain.

In this issue, we look at why that’s the case. Via Zoom conversations and written contributions, we engage a wide variety of voices, from education activists to parent advocates, to gain greater perspective on progress and insight into what’s happening in the national education system. Most importantly, we address the challenges we have yet to overcome, the harsh reality that we are still leaving too many students behind, and the responsibility we have to ensure all students succeed.