No Child Left Behind

Childhood Education

Step 1: Recognizing the Problem / Setting the Agenda


  • A reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, the central federal law in pre-collegiate education. The ESEA, first enacted in 1965 and previously reauthorized in 1994, encompasses Title I, the federal government's flagship aid program for disadvantaged students.

  • At the core of the No Child Left Behind Act were a number of measures designed to drive broad gains in student achievement and to hold states and schools more accountable for student progress

  • They represented significant changes to the education landscape

  • It was designed to introduce national standards to a system in which students in some demographic groups were more likely to succeed and others likely to be left behind. But it allows states to determine how success is measured.

The No Child Left Behind Act of 2001, signed into law by President Bush on Jan. 8, 2002

Step 2: Formulating the Policy


  • By 1991, President Bush’s “America 2000″ proposal included voluntary national testing tied to “world class” standards, a provision that led to the bill’s death by Republican filibuster.

  • In 1994 President Clinton signed into law “Goals 2000,” which provided grants to help states develop academic standards.

  • In April 1999, Andrew Rotherham of the Democratic Leadership Council’s Progressive Policy Institute summed up the key elements of this view in an influential white paper. In it he wrote that Congress, to rectify the Title I program’s status as “an undertaking without consequences” for everyone except students, should set performance benchmarks and terminate aid to districts that failed to meet them.

  • The Elementary and Secondary Education Act’s 50-plus separate, categorical grants would be reduced to five broad “performance-based grants” funding the Title I compensatory-education program, teacher quality, English proficiency, public school choice, and innovations.

President Bush, President Clinton and Andrew Rotherham of the Democratic Leadership Council’s Progressive Policy Institute were involved int he formulating of the policy.

Step 3: Adopting the Policy

  • States are required to set targets for overall achievement and for specific categories of students, such as English language learners or economically disadvantaged students.

  • These targets determine whether the school makes “adequate yearly progress,” or AYP, as measured by state standardized tests.

  • A school can fail – even if it is making substantial progress for most of its students – if one category of students cannot meet the standards.

  • All schools and districts are required to make annual report cards available to the public.

  • The No Child Left Behind law was designed to hold schools more accountable and empower parents.

President George Bush was involved in adopting the NCLB act.

Step 4: Implementing the Policy

  • School districts may not use lack of space as a reason to deny a transfer, but they have some flexibility in meeting this requirement. School districts may restrict which schools are available for transfer and when transfers may occur. They may sign contracts with neighboring districts to accept students from failing schools, contract with online schools, create schools within schools, offer supplemental services a year early, hire more teachers, add portables or build new classrooms at more successful schools.

  • After three consecutive years, the school must also provide “supplemental education services,” or SES, to children who remain at the school.

  • The federal government has allowed some districts to switch the order of sanctions. Students would be eligible for free tutoring if these schools fail to meet their goals for two years in a row and would then get the option to transfer if the school misses its goals a third time.
President George Bush helped figure out how the NCLB policy would be enforced.

Step 5: Evaluating the Policy

  • Although federal education spending has increased by nearly 64 percent since the inception of the No Child Left Behind education law, there has been little improvement in America’s test scores and an overall further diminishment of U.S. education on the world stage.

  • President Barack Obama unveiled his plan last week to grant waivers to states that cannot meet certain provisions in No Child Left Behind, or the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), which Congress passed in 2001 and which set national standards for achievement in Public Schools.

  • By 2002, after No Child Left Behind was implemented, appropriations had increased by 33.6 percent, going from $42.1 billion in 2001 to $56.2 billion the following year, according to the Education Department.

  • The increase in funding from 2000 to 2010 was 63.8 percent, as the department saw an added $24.6 billion to its budget, according to the Education Department Web site.

  • But while federal education spending more than doubled between 1997 ($33.5 billion) and 2011 ($69.9 billion), education scores have not seen comparable leaps in results.

President Barack Obama is in charge of he spending for the NCLB act.
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