Academic journal article The Journal of Negro Education

No Child Left Behind and Implications for Black Students

Academic journal article The Journal of Negro Education

No Child Left Behind and Implications for Black Students

Article excerpt

The No Child Left Behind Act, a sequel to Goals 2000, is designed to enact the theories of standards-based education reform which is predicated on the belief that high expectations and setting of goals will result in success for all students. This article highlights the major provisions provided in the framework of NCLB.

INTRODUCTION

NCLB, referring to the No Child Left Behind legislation, probably is one of the most recognized acronyms in recent history. There is almost no one without an opinion about this program's merits or shortcomings. To his credit, President George W. Bush was overwhelmingly successful in amassing an impressive level of bipartisan support for The No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 (2002). This ambitious law included a potent blend of high expectations, new requirements, incentives, sanctions, resources, and accountability for states, districts, and schools to move faster and further to improve the academic achievement of every child. A few days after taking office in January 2001, President George W. Bush announced his framework for what was to become a landmark education reform initiative. The 650-page No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Act was passed with strong bipartisan backing in the House of Representatives by a vote of 381-41, in the Senate by a vote of 87-10; it was signed into law on January 8, 2002. Such laudable goals of NCLB were destined to raise the hopes and desires of all Americans who were agonizing over the purported inability of our students to compete academically in a global society.

GOALS, REQUIREMENTS, AND PROVISIONS OF NCLB

NCLB was designed to improve the academic performance of children in America's elementary and secondary schools and to ensure that no child is trapped in a failing school. The NCLB Act reauthorizes the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 (ESEA, 1965) and incorporates the principles and strategies proposed by President Bush. These include increased accountability for results from states, school districts, and schools; greater choice for parents and students, particularly those in low-performing schools; more flexibility for states and local educational agencies (LEAs) in the use of federal funds; qualified teachers in their subject areas; stronger emphasis on reading and mathematics; and scientifically based education methods.

NCLB requires states to make demonstrable annual progress toward (a) raising the percentage of students who are proficient in reading and mathematics, and (b) in narrowing the achievement gap between advantaged and disadvantaged students. Furthermore, the law requires all students in grades 3 through 8 in each racial, ethnic, and socioeconomic group, and whether or not they have special needs or are native English speakers, to be proficient in mathematics and reading by 2014. The No Child Left Behind Act, a sequel to Goals 2000 (1994) enacts the theories of standardsbased education reform which is predicated on the belief that high expectations and setting of goals will result in success for all students. The several major provisions provide the framework of NCLB.

Adequate Yearly Progress

NCLB requires states to create an accountability system of assessments, graduation rates and other indicators. Schools must make adequate yearly progress (AYP), as determined by the state, by raising the level of achievement of subgroups (i.e., Blacks, Hispanics, low-income students, and special education students) to a proficiency level that is determined by the state. If a single group within a school fails to reach proficiency, the school is considered as having fallen short and additional assistance such as tutoring and supplemental services are provided to students in Title I schools. (Title I schools serve disadvantaged students, at least 50% of whom are in poverty.) Under the provisions of NCLB, schools receiving Title I funds that do not meet AYP requirements for two consecutive years will be identified as "in need of improvement" and parents must be offered the option of sending their child to a different public school in the district. …

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