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Educational Opportunities Lag for Kids in Juvenile Detention, Study Finds

There is widespread agreement that No Child Left Behind, the nation’s much-reviled federal education law, succeeded in at least one important respect: It forced the country to measure its yawning achievement gaps, making those gaps harder to ignore.

But the central idea behind the law — the idea that schools should be accountable for what their students learn, and that struggling schools must take steps to improve — didn’t really catch on in the nation’s juvenile detention centers, according to a new study by the Council of State Governments Justice Center.

“When it comes to incarcerated kids, that level of accountability and measurement hasn’t actually emerged in most states,” said Michael Thompson, director of the CSG Justice Center, which based its study on a survey of juvenile correction agencies in all 50 states.