No Child Left Behind (NCLB)
Overview and Highlights of NCLB
NCLB was signed into law January 8, 2002. It is the latest revision of the 1965 Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) and is regarded as the most significant federal education policy initiative in a generation.
The overall purpose of the law is to ensure that each child in America is able to meet the high learning standards of the state where he or she lives. The specific goals of the law, as spelled out in the Federal Register issued on March 6, 2002, are:
- All students will reach high standards, at a minimum attaining proficiency or better in reading and mathematics by 2013-2014.
- By 2013-2014, all students will be proficient in reading by the end of the third grade.
- All limited English proficient students will become proficient in English.
- By 2005-2006, all students will be taught by highly qualified teachers.
- All students will be educated in learning environments that are safe, drug free and conducive to learning.
- All students will graduate from high school.
To help schools and districts meet these goals, the law provides a blend of requirements, incentives and resources. The requirements include:
- Annual testing of all students against state standards in reading and mathematics in grades 3-8 and in science at three times in a student’s school career (including once in high school).
- “Verification” of each state’s assessment system via required participation (every other year) by selected districts in the NAEP test.
- Aggregate and disaggregate analysis and reporting of student achievement results.
- A state definition and timeline for determining whether a school, district and the state are making “adequate yearly progress” (AYP) toward the goal of 100 percent of students meeting state standards by the 2013-2014 school year.
- Technical assistance and then sanctions for schools, districts and the state for failure to make AYP.
- Highly qualified teachers in core academic subjects by 2005-2006.
- Highly qualified aides or paraprofessionals.
- Support for students not meeting standards and/or for those who have special needs (e.g., homeless, limited-English-proficiency).
- The use of “scientifically-based” programs and strategies.
NCLB will provide nearly $1 billion annually in additional funding over the next five years to help states and districts strengthen K-3 reading programs, before- and after-school programs, charter schools, reading readiness for preschool children, teacher professional development and education technology. In addition, the law gives local districts and the state some flexibility in combining funds to meet identified priorities. State plans must be completed by May 28, 2002, with input from external partners.