Urban School Principals and the ‘No Child Left Behind’ Act

Mary E. Gardiner, University of Idaho
Kathy Canfield-Davis, University of Idaho
Keith LeMar Anderson, Boise State University

Urban Review, Volume 41, Issue 2, 141-160. DOI: 10.1007/s11256-008-0102-1


This exploratory study investigated how six practicing school principals responded to the requirements of the No Child Left Behind law (United States Congress Public Law 107–110, 2002, January, No Child Left Behind Act, http://www.ed.gov/policy/elsec/leg/esea02/107-110.pdf) in light of the multicultural leadership demands presented by an urban setting. It examines perspectives of principals on the legal aspects of No Child Left Behind (NCLB) and what they did to manage its requirements. Multicultural leadership literature provided a framework to understand the perspectives of school leaders. The findings suggest three principals were engaged in meaningful and practical work to both fulfill the requirements of NCLB and meet the needs of their students. Three principals were focused on the requirements of the law and did not see the connection between multicultural leadership and NCLB. The study’s recommendations include a multicultural leadership approach to current NCLB school reform.