What is the No Child Left Behind Act

What is the No Child Left Behind Act

The No Child Left Behind Law was drafted by President George W. Bush in 2002. Under the Bush government, both Democratic and Republican parties together with civil rights and business groups, united in support of the No Child Left Behind Act to help minority and poor students achieve higher results like those of their advantaged classmates.

The Act is an update of The Elementary and Secondary Education Act, 1965 and came into being due to growing apprehension that the American education system was no longer at par on a global level. It holds the state and its schools responsible for academic progress of its students. It also highlights that special attention is needed on minority students, such as English language learners, students in special education, and students from minority backgrounds, to help set higher goals and achieve better results.

The law requires that states set their own proficiency levels and introduce tests from grade 3 to grade 8 in English and Math for students to move forward each year. A school is tracked by Adequate Yearly Progress reports submitted each year.

 Failure to achieve yearly goals could lead to the following pre-determined sanctions:

  • Schools that miss AYP for 2 consecutive years must allow its students to transfer to a better school.
  • If a school misses AYP 3 years in a row, it must offer its students free tutoring.
  • Schools that continue to underachieve are subject to state interventions.

Teachers must also hold valid qualifications under the Act with a Bachelor’s Degree and State Certification in their subject.

Under the Obama Government, waivers were introduced due to an alarming number of schools being unable to achieve yearly targets. A total of 42 states, Puerto Rico, and the District of Columbia have been given the waiver from achieving target by the (now past) deadline.