No Child Left Behind is an important tool in fixing education, but like the current generation of eBook readers (and even corn-based ethanol, for that matter), NCLB is a transitional technology, not an end in itself.
Most text-books cost about $100. Imagine how the world changes when sub-notebooks running Windows 7 cost about $100 and can bounce without breaking.
How far away is that?
How long after that would be bother with physical books for students?
For just one idea of the shape of things to come, take automated teaching software like Rosetta Stone. Imagine hooking up simmilar software to students pay-pal accounts, and paying them some amount ($5.00, say) to pass a lesson. Do the same for mathematics, science, vocabulary, grammer, and other core courses. Have some form of proctoring, and you’ve just automated a lot of teachers out of a job, or freed them up to teach higher-level skills while we netbooks and paypal to program learning like we program computers..
Teaching to the test, of course, is a good thing, as long as we have good tests.
Computer tech is becoming cheap and resilient enough that, for much of education, we won’t need ‘teachers’ at all. Just someone to swap out the batteries on the teaching machines, someone to monitor the test taking, and someone to make sure the floors are clean.