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Despite the U.S. Supreme Court's recognition in 1954, in Brown v. Board of Education, that education is of paramount importance, six million middle and high school students are still in danger of being left behind. Less than seventy-five percent of eighth graders, fifty percent in urban schools, are graduating from high school within five years. Advocates for educational equity have appealed to the courts, achieving limited success. They have also turned to the legislature, which most recently enacted the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 ("NCLB"). Thus far, however, the federal government has not enforced NCLB adequately. This note argues that to protect the benefits NCLB confers upon them, parents of children attending failing schools must explore their options for private enforcement. Given the Court's decisions within the past three years narrowing implied private right of action and § 1983, the most promising theory for enforcement of NCLB is third-party beneficiary theory.


Originally published by the Boston College Law Review in 2004.