The Purpose of No Child Left Behind
The primary purpose of NCLB is to ensure that students in every public school achieve important learning goals while being educated in safe classrooms by well-prepared teachers. To increase student achievement, the law requires that school districts assume responsibility for all students reaching 100% student proficiency levels within 12 years on tests assessing important academic content. Furthermore, NCLB requires schools to close academic gaps between economically advantaged students and students who are from different economic, racial, and ethnic backgrounds as well as students with disabilities.
To measure progress, NCLB requires that states administer tests to all public school students. The states set proficiency standards, called adequate yearly progress, that progressively increase the percentage of students in a district that must meet the proficiency standard. If a school district does not meet these proficiency levels, the law mandates that requirements be met and corrective actions applied.
No Child Left Behind has required a major shift in the ways that teachers, administrators, and state department of education personnel think about public schooling. NCLB is a controversial law that places educators under growing pressure to increase the achievement of all students and to narrow the test score gap between groups of students (Anthes, 2002). Moreover, educators will now be held responsible for bringing about these changes. Administrators and teachers will need to understand effective research-based instructional strategies and be able to evaluate student’s instructional progress to make more effective instructional decisions. Clearly, NCLB puts more pressure on the public education system to increase student achievement for all students (Anthes, 2002).
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