No Child Left Behind

Megan Ditcham-Vik, Kristiana Lee, Eric Nunez, & Amanda Vanderlilp
What is NCLB?
● The No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) was announced by George W. Bush in January 2001 and was
signed into law on January 8, 2002.
● NCLB grew out of concern that the American education system was not competitive internationally and
American students were trailing behind on international test for reading and math. Therefore, federal
involvement in education had to increase its role in holding schools responsible for the academic
progress of all students.
● NCLB Act reauthorized the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) which, was part of
President Lyndon B. Johnson’s Great Society program passed in 1965. ESEA defined the role of the
federal government in K-12 schools by providing funding for disadvantaged school districts, known as
Title I. The federal government would help close the achievement gap between disadvantaged
students and their peers by investing Title I funds more effectively and with greater accountability.
● President George W. Bush (2001) expressed that , “As America enters the 21st Century full of hope
and promise, too many of our neediest students are being left behind.” Bush (2001) argued that, “After
spending billions of dollars on education, we have fallen short in meeting our goals for educational
NCLB Overview of Standards and
● NCLB changed laws by requiring states, school districts, and schools receiving Title I funds to ensure students meet
high standards by having “clear” and “measurable goals” on essential knowledge and basic skills (Bush, 2001).
Under NCLB schools are measured by adequate yearly progress (AYP) to ensure annual goals are met.
● NCLB requires annual state assessments in math and reading in grades 3-8, ensuring goals are met for every child
on an annual basis. Annual testing in every grade gives teachers, parents, and policymakers the data needed to
ensure children succeed in respects to academics.
● Schools that fail to achieve annual targets (AYP) and fail to progress would be subject to sanctions.
○ A school that misses AYP two consecutive years has to allow students to transfer to a better-performing
school in the same district.
○ If a school misses AYP for three consecutive years must offer free tutoring.
○ Schools that continue to miss AYP could face state intervention. States can choose to shut these schools
down, turn them into charter schools, or use other “turnaround strategies” (Bush, 2001).
● Schools that meet AYP and make progress in closing the achievement gap will receive bonus No Child Left Behind
and Achievement in Education state funds.
● Federal requirements do not apply to private or home schools.
NCLB Overview of Improving Teacher
● Establishing High Standards for Professional Development
○ According to George W. Bush (2001), “Every child in America deserves a high-quality teacher.” NCLB
requires all educators to be highly qualified. All teachers must be fully certified by the state and have a
license to teach in the state. Highly qualified teachers must demonstrate their knowledge of the subject they
teach through certain credentials or test scores.
● Empowering Parents With Teacher Quality Information
○ NCLB gives parents the right to know if their child’s teacher is qualified and effective. Local districts are
required to disclose to parents information regarding a teacher’s state licensure, undergraduate major,
graduate degrees, and other qualifications.
● Grants for Excellence in Teaching
○ Funding is set aside for the Secretary of Education to award grants to states and school districts that
increase academic achievement by improving teacher and principal quality.
NCLB Overview of Improving Literacy, Math,
and Science
● NCLB is committed to ensuring that all students can read at grade level or above by the third grade. A program known as the “Reading First”
initiative was established to meet this goal and eliminate the reading deficit.
○ States and local districts receive funds to implement scientifically-based reading programs in Kindergarten through the second grade.
The Reading First initiative ensures that more children receive effective reading instruction before they “fall too far behind” (Bush,
● Bush (2001) argued that, “Among the underlying causes for the poor performance of U.S. students in the areas of math and science three
problems must be addressed -- too many teachers teaching out of field; too few students taking advanced coursework; and too few schools
offering a challenging curriculum and textbooks.”
● Annual Student Testing
○ NCLB requires that states implement annual assessments in mathematics for Grades 3-8 and at least once in Grades 10-12. Also,
annual test in science must be given at least once a year in each of the three grade spans: Grades 3-5, 6-9, and 10-12 (Learning
Point Associates, 2007).
● Challenging Academic Content Standards
○ According to Learning Point Associates (2007) challenging content standards in academic subjects must do the following:
■ “Specify what children are expected to know and be able to do”
■ “Contain coherent and rigorous content”
■ “Encourage the teaching of advanced skills”
● Establishing Math and Science Partnerships
○ States and local districts would be eligible to receive new federal funds to help fund partnerships with math and science departments
of institutions of higher education.
NCLB Overview of Safe Schools for the 21st Century
and Enhancing Education Through Technology
● NCLB is dedicated to help children meet challenging academics standards by providing high quality education that is drug free and safe.
● Consolidates and Simplifies Funding for Safe and Drug Free Schools
○ School districts receive funds for after school drug and violence prevention activities.
● Establishes Accountability for School Safety and Achievement
○ States develop a definition for a persistently dangerous school” and must report on safety on a “school-by-school basis” (Bush, 2001).
● Grants Teachers Control Over Their Classrooms
○ Teachers are empowered by the states to remove violent or disruptive students from classrooms.
● NCLB aims to use technology as a tool to improve academic achievement by establishing access, accessibility, and parental involvement.
● Building Access
○ Establishes solid electronic infrastructure by improving area networks.
● Accessibility
○ Provides technology literacy for all students, including students with disabilities, minorities, low income students, English language learners
● Parental Involvement
○ Provides technology training and accessibility for parents so they may support academic achievement of their children
● Sends More Dollars to Schools for Technology
○ NCLB consolidates technology grant programs into a performance-based technology grant program that expands access to technology to
more students.
■ Funds are targeted to high needs schools (rural schools/ low income students). Reduces Paperwork and Increases Flexibility

○ Paperwork requirements will be eliminated by sending E-rate funds to schools by a formula.
Implications for Class Time
● NCLB has forced teachers to shift resources away from
important, but nontested subjects in order to focus instruction
on mathematics and reading.
● Subjects that are taking a hit:
○ Social Studies
○ Art
○ Music
○ Pysical Education
● There has been a serious reallocation of class time from these
subjects to reading in particular.
Implications for Class Time
● The results of the reallocation of class time have shown
a positive effect on elementary student performance in
mathematics, particularly within the lower grades,
Hispanic populations, and traditionally disadvantaged
populations (Dee & Jacob, 2010).
● HOWEVER, evidence suggests that NCLB did not have
a comparable effect on reading performance (Dee &
Jacob 2010).
Implications for Expenditure
● Average school district expenditure increased by
nearly $600 per pupil with NCLB (6.8% increase
between 2000-2000) (Dee & Jacob, 2010).
● Money went towards:
○ teacher professional development
○ educational support services (hiring aides)
○ direct student instruction
● Unfortunately, this increase was NOT matched by
federal support (Dee & Jacob, 2010).
● However, much of the professional development
funds contributed to the overall increase in the
share of teachers with master’s degrees (Dee &
Jacob, 2010).
Implications for Teacher Accountability
● One thing some are concerned about is the potential
for personnel to intentionally manipulate student test
scores (Dee & Jacob, 2010).
● When financial allocations and/or sanctions are
involved, teachers may be tempted to give a little too
much help during testing or to actually physically
change answers.
● In addition, teachers often sacrifice what ought to be
taught in order to “teach to the test.” The integrity of
the learning may suffer.
Benefits of NCLB Students
● Improvement of test scores

● Highly qualified teachers

● More help for Title I schools and students (non-performing schools have to provide supplementary services to students if
adequate yearly progress (YP) is not met for 3 consecutive years)

● Ability for students to attend another school in district who has met AYP (non-performing school for 2 years)

● NCLB puts more emphasis on real world skills (reading, writing, math)

● Receiving scientifically based instructional strategies

● Achievement Gap
Negatives of NCLB Students
● Teaching to the test

● Standardized tests

● Highly qualified teachers

● Achievement Gap

● Students held to same achievement standards (dictated by state), regardless of ability level, socioeconomic status, and
native language

● NCLB puts more emphasis on real world skills (reading, writing, math)
Benefits and Negatives of NCLB

● Updated training
● Teacher qualifications
● High expectations
● Pay Incentives


● Teaching to the test (see high expectations)
● Teacher qualifications
● High expectations
● Friction with administrators (due to increasing test scores)
● Job security
Benefits and Negatives of NCLB for

● Transparency (Assessment data disseminated to parents, informing them of student and school progress)

● Substantial and meaningful opportunities to participate in their child’s education

● Ability to ask school district for educational information regarding teachers credentialing


● Funding

● Biased testing results
Benefits of NCLB School District
● Improvement of test scores

● Highly qualified teachers

● Achievement Gap shrinking

● More help for Title I schools and students (non-performing schools have to provide supplementary services to students
if adequate yearly progress (AYP) is not for 3 consecutive years)

● Federal funding

● Accountability for meeting AYP goals (rewards)

● Statewide standards are the same
Negatives of NCLB School District

● Expectations of NCLB (Unrealistic to have 100% proficiency)

● Accountability for meeting AYP goals (sanctions)

● Accountability (more schools failing)

● Federal funding and budget cuts
Benefits and Negatives Summary

● In researching benefits and negatives of the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 for students, teachers, families, and
school districts, there are many contradictory statistics. These contradictory statistics make it difficult to assess
whether or not the NCLB Act of 2001 was effective or not; however, it is clear that reform is needed.

● The NCLB act is not perfect, yet not wholly flawed either. The purpose behind the act is to improve the education of all
American students, noble, to say the least. Some of NCLB’s aspects work, particularly it’s focus to improve the
education of minority students. Other aspects do not including, how achievement is measured, how schools are
restructured and what makes a teacher highly qualified. Other parts of NCLB have also gathered strong criticisms
including the use of a single test to measure achievement and the shift of curriculum from liberal arts to reading and
writing, the focus of NCLB. The most important aspect of NCLB is that it has brought attention to the state of education
in it’s entirety (Kolodziej, 2011).
Proposals for Reform
● September 2011 U.S. Department of Education came up with idea to grant certain states “waivers” that will allow
for flexibility from the provisions set in the No Child Left Behind ( NCLB ) Laws.
● Waivers granted flexibility to the states on how and when they achieved certain goals and requirements of the
No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Law. It also offered flexibility in terms of how the federal education funds were
● Waivers are especially appealing to low-performing schools who were looking for more reasonable achievement
targets and who wanted more influence in terms of intervention strategies that would more effective for their
● To date; 43 states, The District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico have received waivers.
● One year waiver extensions have also been provided allowing schools more time to meet the conditions of the
waivers. 35 states thus far have utilized the waiver to improve student achievement levels and address other
problematic areas.
● Reauthorization of “No Child Left Behind” is still a controversial issue in Congress. Waivers offer a quick remedy
but not an overall resolution.
Proposals for Reform
Waiver Provisions
● Transition curriculum to college and career-ready standards
● Develop an effective way to measure different performance levels of schools
● Hold low-performing schools accountable for making improvements needed ( but will still provide support )
● Teacher and principal evaluations to be completed based on student achievement

1. Schools must adhere to provisions of the waiver otherwise will be held accountable.
2. One year waiver extensions have been offered allowing schools more time to meet waiver standards.
3. Washington is first state that has failed to be granted an extension and will lose waiver. Subject to loss of $40
million in federal Title 1 funding and will now be labeled as failing to meet proficiency levels required.
4. CORE ( California Office to Reform Education )- eight large California school districts that combined to form
CORE. Applied as one entity to receive unique one-year NCLB waiver. Sacramento district withdrew in protest of
its provision to base teacher evaluations on student test scores. Will now have to return back to provisions of
NCLB law. Anticipated cost is $4 million to help underachieving students now reach academic proficiency.
Proposals for Reform

● NCLB to date still lingers in congress as a controversial issue.
● In the interim, waivers have provided flexibility until a resolution can be made.
● Efforts to improve nation’s school is a continued existence.
● Education reforms, new academic standards, and new teacher evaluations are a key topic
among state policymakers regardless of status of NCLB.
● Government versus local legislation continues to be of topic. Questions concerning who should
be in charge of making the rules has proved to be an ongoing debate involved.
● Accountability is of the key importance with or without NCLB or waiver implementation.
Questions for Discussion
1. NCLB requires annual state assessments to give teachers, parents, and
policymakers data to ensure children succeed in respect to academics. Do
you believe standardized achievement test scores accurately evaluate a
school’s effectiveness?
2. There are many positive things about NCLB. Why do you think there has
been such a negative response to it? What is NCLB’s most serious issue
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