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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 30, 2002

NCLB Act Focuses on Helping Students Meet State Standards

Springfield, Illinois – As parents send students back to school, they may notice the beginning of new school improvement initiatives resulting from the federal No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Act of 2001. The law, which emphasizes standards-based learning for all students, will be especially beneficial to low-performing students.

“The No Child Left Behind Act offers additional assistance to those students who have difficulty achieving state standards,” said State Superintendent of Education Robert E. Schiller. “The initiatives in this new law will help us to further close the state’s achievement gap between low-income students and their classmates and the educator gap – both in terms of the quantity and quality of our classroom teachers.”

Below is a list of NCLB provisions that take affect with the beginning of this school year:

Public school choice offers parents of students in low-performing schools the option to send their children to a higher-performing school in the district. In Illinois, 232 elementary and middle schools are offering choice this fall because they that did not make adequate yearly progress (AYP) on this year’s ISAT or PSAE scores.

New teachers hired to work in Title I-funded schools this year must meet the federal definition of a “highly qualified” teacher.

Paraprofessionals working in Title-I supported programs who were hired after January 8, 2002, must meet new “highly qualified” criteria this fall.

Early Reading First will support local efforts to enhance early language, literacy and pre-reading development of preschool-age children, particularly those from low-income families.

Early Reading will provide funding to eligible districts to implement reading programs and strategies scientifically proven to help children in grades K-3 learn to read.

21st Century Community Learning Centers will provide quality after-school programs for students who will receive extra help in reading, mathematics and other subject areas as well as help in building life skills.

Additional NCLB provisions will go into effect later this year and beyond to complement the school improvement initiatives started this fall. These provisions include:

Supplemental Educational Services (SES) will be offered to students who attend schools that do not make adequate yearly progress on their ISAT or PSAE scores for three consecutive years. SES providers will offer additional academic assistance to students before or after school or on weekends.

Teachers who instruct core academic subjects will be required to meet the federal definition of “highly qualified” by the end of the 2005-06 school year.

Illinois State Board of Education
100 North First Street
Springfield, IL 62777