by Audrey W. Prince M.Ed.
On January 8, 2002, President Bush signed into law the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB), which redefines the federal role in K-12 education. NCLB is a reform of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (1965). It requires accountability for all children regardless of poverty, race/ethnicity, disability, or limited English proficiency (LEP) and is designed to close the achievement gap between disadvantaged, disabled, and minority students, and their peers. NCLB is based on four principles: making schools responsible for student progress, putting an emphasis on using teaching practices that work, giving parents options, and increasing local control of school systems.
Nine Points to Know!
The Early Years
- Research shows that children who enter school with an understanding of pre-reading skills, such as reading from left to right and top to bottom, have more success in school. NCLB provides resources to help children in the early years.
Information for Parents
- Student progress must be measured yearly for grades 3–8 in reading and math. States must provide parents with information on their child’s progress (state testing results).
- Each state selects which test to use in order to measure student progress.
- States must give parents timely information on individual school and district progress (school report card).
- Schools are required to use federal money to make improvements.
- For schools that have poor progress year after year, parents might have the option to transfer their child to a higher-performing school or receive supplemental education services, such as tutoring, after-school programs, or remedial classes.
Testing & Information
- Schools must test yearly to provide information about student’s strengths and weaknesses (for grades 3–8).
- Classroom teaching should help students meet or exceed standards.
- Principals must use the information to hold teachers accountable for student progress and help improve the school.
High Teacher Quality
- Teachers of core academic subjects (math, language arts, science, and social studies) must meet guidelines for the highly qualified status by the end of the 2005-2006 school year.
Giving More Financial Resources to Schools
- NCLB has increased federal funding by 59.8%.
- Also, Title 1 grants for disadvantaged schools have increased 33%.
Allowing State Control of Money
- NCLB gives states and local education agencies control of how federal money is used.
Focus on What Works
- Importance is put on using educational programs and practices that have been demonstrated to work (research-based). For example, the Reading First program is designed to strengthen reading skills in the early grades and has been proven to work.