By now, any parent who has a child in the public school system has certainly heard of the sweeping education reform, No Child Left Behind (NCLB). You may not know that the major federal law related to education for students in public education was The Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA). ESEA became No Child Left Behind when it was reauthorized in 2001 and became one of the most significant federal reforms since the passage of ESEA.
Purpose of No Child Left Behind
1. Increase accountability for student performance.
2. Focus on what works based on scientific research.
3. Empower parents and expand parental involvement.
4. Increase local control and flexibility.
The primary focus of NCLB is to hold schools accountable for the performance of students who are struggling to learn.
Federal funds are provided to states and local independent school districts so that they may accomplish the goals of NCLB through NCLB’s Title I grant program. You may have heard the term, “Title I” and now you know that it is the place in the law that supports students who are considered “disadvantaged.”
It is important to note that all states accept Title I funds, with about 90% of school districts and about 60% of schools accepting Title I funds. To find out if your child’s school is a Title I school and to learn other information about your school, visit the National Center for Education and Statistics at http://nces.ed.gov/ccd/districtsearch/
NLCB holds states and school districts that accept Title I funds accountable for:
• Providing a fair, equal, and significant opportunity to obtain a high quality education for ALL students.
• Proficiency on state academic achievement standards and assessments for all students.
By 2014, NCLB requires that all students be proficient in reading, math and science. This will be measured through:
• Annual academic assessments for all students.
• Annual yearly progress targets and annual measurable objectives for student progress.
• Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) of schools and school districts.
• Annual Statewide Report Card that will be made available to the public.
What Parents Need to Know
1 Become informed about the provisions of NCLB:
No Child Left Behind is a very complex law that gives states a great deal of flexibility. It is important that you understand the provisions of the law and how it impacts your child’s campus and your child. There are many resources available for families to learn more about how NCLB is implemented.
Additional NCLB resources are listed below in the RESOURCE section.
2. Annual statewide testing requirements have changed:
Parents should also be aware that annual testing requirements have changed for students under NCLB. The centerpiece of the accountability principles of NCLB is the annual statewide assessments that measure student progress. In Texas, we have called these statewide assessments TAAS and now, TAKS. Students with disabilities in Texas had participated in a “Three tiered model” of assessment that included the Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills (TAKS), State Developed Alternative Assessment (SDAA) and the Locally Developed Alternative Assessment (LDAA). NCLB requires that school districts assess at least 95% of students using the statewide assessment, the TAKS. There is far less flexibility for students with disabilities in Texas than we were experiencing under the three-tier model. This is a significant change for students with disabilities and parents should be aware of this change when discussing statewide assessment for their students in ARD meetings.
For more information about statewide assessment in Texas, visit the Division of Student Assessment at TEA, http://www.tea.state.tx.us/student.assessment/index.htm.
NCLB Testing Requirements:
By the 2005-2006 school year:
Reading/Language Arts & Math
Each year, grades 3 through 8
Once during grades 10-12
By the 2007-2008 school year:
Once during grades 3-5
Once during grades 6-9
Once during grades 10-12
3.No Child Left Behind and The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act are now aligned with each other:
In 2004, IDEA was reauthorized by Congress and included components of NCLB, including the use of scientifically based research for the instruction of all students and the requirement for students with disabilities to also be instructed in core academic subjects by teachers who meet the definition of “highly qualified.”
“Children with disabilities must be considered as general education students first. Under NCLB, states are responsible for implementing a single accountability system for all students. IDEA must incorporate the NCLB principles of assessment for children receiving special education and align NCLB accordingly to enhance state efforts to improve student achievement.”
U.S. Secretary of Education, Rod Paige, February, 2003
NCLB Terms To Know
Adequate Yearly Progress
Under the accountability provisions in the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Act, all public school campuses, school districts, and the state are evaluated for Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP). Districts, campuses, and the state are required to meet AYP criteria on three measures: Reading/Language Arts, Mathematics, and either Graduation Rate (for high schools and districts) or Attendance Rate (for elementary and middle/junior high schools).
Highly Qualified Teachers
A teacher meets NCLB definition if the teacher has -
Full State Certification, and
• Bachelor’s Degree (or higher), and
• Demonstrated Competency
Scientifically Based Research
NOTE: Scientifically Based Research is defined in NCLB. Peer-Reviewed Research is used interchangeably with Scientifically Based Research in IDEA 2004.
In the past, educators relied on their training, past experience and even trial and error to determine what works best for kids and education. NCLB requires that methods used to educate students be more deliberate, that they be studied and proven effective, and that they be backed up with data demonstrating their effectiveness. Keep in mind that just because a method has research attached to it, doesn't mean it is necessarily "scientifically based" and that there are specific criteria for this. The US Department of Education published a "User Friendly Guide" to help explain the specifics. http://www.ed.gov/rschstat/research/pubs/rigorousevid/index.html
Extensive information is available about NCLB is available through a variety of sites. Use the sites below to help you to understand this important and complex law:
For more information about state NCLB policies, visit the U.S. Department of Education website at http://www.ed.gov/admins/lead/account/stateplans03/index.html
TEA has a NCLB website and a NCLB List Serve. The website serves as a clearinghouse for information and U.S. Department of Education guidance on this important national legislation, statewide letters concerning the implementation of the statute, and links to the specific program areas. To learn more, go to http://www.tea.state.tx.us/nclb/.
TEA NCLB ListServe:
To subscribe to the TEA NCLB List serve, go to http://miller.tea.state.tx.us/list/. TEA offers a number of listserves for those of you who want up to the minute information. Subscribers to this list will receive broadcast messages regarding program updates, clarification on legal issues, and notification of workshops, conference sessions, and trainings to be conducted by Agency program staff. In addition, notification will be sent when the NCLB Program Coordination website is updated. Please note that posting to these lists is limited to Agency staff.
Websites of Interest to Parents:
US Dept of Ed.: No Child Left Behind: Help for Students and their Families
NICHCY Connections to No Child Left Behind
No Child Left Behind: An Overview
Making NCLB Work for Children Who Struggle to Learn: A Parent's Guide
Count Me In: Special Education in an Era of Standards. Quality Counts 2004, Education Week, January 8, 2004
Wrightslaw: No Child Left Behind
Accountability for Assessment Results in the No Child Left Behind: What is Means for Children with Disabilities
NCLB Action Fact Sheets
No Child Left Behind and Students with Learning Disabilities: Opportunities and Obstacles
Assessing Students with Learning Disabilities under No Child Left Behind
Opportunities for Supplemental Education Services under No Child Left Behind
Parent Information and Resource Centers
The U.S. Department of Education created PIRCs to provide parents, schools and organizations working with families with training, information, and technical assistance to understand how children develop and what they need to succeed in school.