Implementing No Child Left Behind Education Law Now in Its Second School Year School Matters
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School Matters  |   November 01, 2003
Implementing No Child Left Behind
Author Notes
  • Catherine D. Clarke, is ASHA’s director of education and regulatory advocacy. Contact her by e-mail at cclarke@asha.org or through the Action Center at 800-498-2071, ext. 4159.
    Catherine D. Clarke, is ASHA’s director of education and regulatory advocacy. Contact her by e-mail at cclarke@asha.org or through the Action Center at 800-498-2071, ext. 4159.×
Article Information
School-Based Settings / Regulatory, Legislative & Advocacy / School Matters
School Matters   |   November 01, 2003
Implementing No Child Left Behind
The ASHA Leader, November 2003, Vol. 8, 2-28. doi:10.1044/leader.SCM.08202003.2
The ASHA Leader, November 2003, Vol. 8, 2-28. doi:10.1044/leader.SCM.08202003.2
The No Child Left Behind Act (NCLBA) of 2001 is a landmark in education reform designed to improve student achievement and change the culture of America’s schools. The 2003–2004 school year is the second year of implementation of the act, which is driving education policy for all children.
NCLBA was enacted Jan. 8, 2002, reauthorizing the Elementary and Secondary Education Act—the principal federal law affecting education from kindergarten through high school. NCLBA is built on four common sense pillars: accountability for results, an emphasis on doing what works based on scientific research, expanded parental options, and expanded local control and flexibility.
Accountability is the centerpiece of NCLBA. The act requires states to implement statewide accountability systems covering all public schools and students. These systems must be based on challenging state standards in reading and mathematics, annual testing for all students in grades 3–8, and annual statewide progress objectives ensuring that all groups of students reach proficiency within 12 years. Assessment results and state progress objectives must be broken out by poverty, race, ethnicity, disability, and limited English proficiency to ensure that no group is left behind. States are to set high standards for improving academic achievement in order to improve the quality of education for all students. Under NCLBA, each state establishes a definition of “adequate yearly progress” (AYP) to use each year to determine the achievement of each school district and school. The purpose of the statute, for both assessments and accountability, is to build on high-quality accountability systems that states already have in place, not to require every state to start from scratch.
The new definition of AYP is diagnostic in nature, and intended to highlight where schools need improvement and should focus their resources. The statute gives states and local educational agencies (LEAs) significant flexibility in how they direct resources and tailor interventions to the needs of individual schools identified for improvement. Under NCLBA, schools are held accountable for the achievement of all students, not just average student performance. States are free to build on the statutory requirements and to develop differentiated responses based on the degree to which a school has not made AYP.
NCLBA significantly raises expectations for states, LEAs, and schools in that all students are expected to meet or exceed state standards in reading and in math within 12 years. It also provides an increase in resources to assist states in meeting these new expectations. States must describe how they will close the achievement gap and make sure all students, including those who are disadvantaged, achieve academic proficiency. They must produce annual state and school district report cards that inform parents and communities about state and school progress.
States are to identify for improvement any Title I school that does not meet the state’s definition of AYP for two consecutive years. School districts and schools that fail to make AYP toward statewide proficiency goals will, over time, be subject to improvement, corrective action, and restructuring measures aimed at getting them back on course to meet state standards. The statute grants flexibility to states and LEAs to direct resources and tailor interventions to the needs of individual schools. Schools that meet or exceed AYP objectives or close achievement gaps will be eligible for State Academic Achievement Awards.
Visit the U.S. Department of Education’s NCLBA Web site at http://www.ed.gov/nclb/ for more information. Also, the Schools Forum at the ASHA Convention this month will feature a discussion of the role of the speech-language pathologist with respect to NCLBA and the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act.
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November 2003
Volume 8, Issue 20