The No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Act of 2001 is a revision of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), which was enacted in 1965 to provide guidance and federal funds to K-12 schools. The NCLB created controversy between the federal government and education groups such as the National Education Association (NEA), which alleged that the act focused too much on punishment and privatization in schools.
The No Child Left Behind Act has many goals, including:
- Targeting resources for early childhood education.
- Requiring each state to measure each student’s progress in reading and math each year during grades 3-8 and once during grades 10-12, as well as each students progress in science once during grades 3-5, once during grades 6-9, and once during grades 10-12. These assessments must be aligned with state academic content and achievement standards.
- Requiring states and school districts to give parents report cards on schools and districts. Included in the report cards are student achievement data broken down into various categories, along with important information about the professional qualifications of teachers.
- Requiring low-performing schools to use federal funds to make needed improvements. If the school continues to perform poorly, parents can transfer their children to higher-performing schools in the area or receive supplemental educational services in the community.
- Setting out minimum teacher qualifications.
- Providing more funding and flexibility in spending funds to school boards.
The goals of the No Child Left Behind Act are high standards and high expectations for every child. Many believe that NCLB is a step in the right direction. However, the NEA believes that the act focuses too much on:
- Punishment rather than assistance
- Mandates rather than support for effective programs
- Privatization rather than teacher-led, family-oriented solutions
A government lawyer will be able to explain to you the impact that the No Child Left Behind Act has on your local school and your child’s education. Also, a lawyer will be able to help address any issues that you or your child may have in relation to the act.