No Child Left Behind

What Does ‘No Child Left Behind’ Mean?

The following has been excerpted from the U.S. Department of Education website devoted to “No Child Left Behind.” Other relevant Internet sites are listed below.

On January 8, 2002, President Bush signed into law the “No Child Left Behind Act of 2001″ (NCLB). This new law represents his education reform plan and contains the most sweeping changes to the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) since it was enacted in 1965.

NCLB changes the federal government’s role in kindergarten through 12th-grade education by asking America’s schools to describe their success in terms of what each student accomplishes. The act contains the President’s four basic education reform principles: stronger accountability for results, increased flexibility and local control, expanded options for parents, and an emphasis on teaching methods that have been proven to work.
An “accountable” education system involves several critical steps:

  • States create their own standards for what a child should know and learn for all grades. Standards must be developed in math and reading immediately. Standards must also be developed for science by the 2005-06 school year.
  • With standards in place, states must test every student’s progress toward those standards by using tests that are aligned with the standards. Beginning in the 2002-03 school year, schools must administer tests in each of three grade spans: grades 3-5, grades 6-9, and grades 10-12 in all schools. Beginning in the 2005-06 school year, tests must be administered every year in grades 3 through 8 in math and reading. Beginning in the 2007-08 school year, science achievement must also be tested.
  • Each state, school district, and school will be expected to make adequate yearly progress toward meeting state standards. This progress will be measured for all students by sorting test results for students who are economically disadvantaged, from racial or ethnic minority groups, have disabilities, or have limited English proficiency.
  • School and district performance will be publicly reported in district and state report cards. Individual school results will be on the district report cards.
  • If the district or school continually fails to make adequate progress toward the standards, then they will be held accountable.

In-depth Information on “No Child Left Behind”

  • “No Child Left Behind: A Desktop Reference,” U.S. Department of Education, September 2002. Available online at or from ED Pubs, Education Publications Center, U.S. Department of Education, P.O. Box 1398, Jessup, MD 20794-1398; 1-800-872-5327
  • “Major Changes to ESEA in the No Child Left Behind Act,” National Learning First Alliance, September 2002. Available online at or from the Alliance at 1001 Connecticut Avenue, NW, Suite 335, Washington, DC 20036, (202) 296-5220

More Information on the Internet: