No Child Left Behind Act of 2001
The No Child Left Behind Act authorizes several federal education programs that are administered by the states. The law is a reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act.
Under the 2002 law, states are required to test students in reading and math in grades 3–8 and once in high school. All students are expected to meet or exceed state standards in reading and math by 2014.
The major focus of No Child Left Behind is to close student achievement gaps by providing all children with a fair, equal, and significant opportunity to obtain a high-quality education. The U.S. Department of Education emphasizes four pillars within the bill:
- Accountability: to ensure those students who are disadvantaged, achieve academic proficiency.
- Flexibility: Allows school districts flexibility in how they use federal education funds to improve student achievement.
- Research-based education: Emphasizes educational programs and practices that have been proven effective through scientific research.
- Parent options: Increases the choices available to the parents of students attending Title I schools.
NCLB requires each state to establish state academic standards and a state testing system that meet federal requirements. This accountability requirement is called Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP). Washington received final approval of its state accountability plan from the U.S. Department of Education on August 6, 2008.
In its current iteration, NCLB formally expired on Sept. 30, 2007. The next reauthorization is expected in 2011.