The No Child Left Behind Act

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Initiated in 2002, the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) of 2001 intended to prevent the academic failures of educational institutions and individual students, as well as bridge achievement gaps between students. This act supports the basic standards of education reform across America; desiring to improve the learning outcomes of America’s youth. No Child Left Behind has left many to criticize the outcomes of the Act itself. Questions have risen concerning the effectiveness of NCLB, as well as the implications to America’s youth.


The No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 should be revised to allow better accountability of student success, accountability of schools progress, and better flexibility for teachers.

About “No Child Left Behind”

Signed into law in 2002, the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 had ample bipartisan support. Implementing the belief that setting high achievement goals in education would yield an increase in student success nationwide, the act requires all states to build assessments for all grade levels concerning the basic skills of reading and math. This in turn provides assurances of federal funding for the public schools who participate fully in this practice. The goal of the act is to have every child achieve their grade level in math and reading by 2014. It was based off the Elementary & Secondary Education Act (ESEA) of 1965. ESEA established the Title I programs, which became the first federal education aid to support children of poor urban/rural areas (Ed.Gov).

Accountability of Student Success

“Accountability for improved student achievement lies at the heart of the ESEA debate

(Jennings, 2010).” According to Jennings,we must relook how student progress in English language arts and math sho...

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...positions. Teachers should be rewarded by success, not penalized by single sided test results.

In conclusion, the initial intentions of the No Child Left Behind Act (2001) were to close the achievement gap between low achieving students and schools and their counterparts; but have fallen short in many important aspects along the way. Teachers have become de-sensitized to the reasons they initially desired to be educators and have lost their vision of how to implement instruction due to standards of NCLB and the consequences for not meeting those mandated goals. Likewise, students must perform, many times, above their level in order to be labeled “adequate” by the federal government and their schools. In some cases, there is a disproportionate burden placed on schools, teachers, and students, all for the sake of what is federally deemed as average achievement.
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