No Child Left Behind ProvisionsThe overall goal of the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) is to have all students - 100% achieving at grade level by 2014. Between now and 2014, states, districts, and schools must take a series of specific steps toward that goal. The law requires that they focus intensively on:
- Challenging academic standards in reading, math, and science and tests based on these standards.
- Accountability for the performance of every child.
- Placing a highly qualified teacher in every classroom.
- Although all schools are subject to NCLB goals and reporting requirements, only schools receiving Title I federal funds will be subject to specific requirements for corrective action, unless a state chooses to extend them to non-Title I schools.
- States set specific scores, known as proficiency levels, on their reading and math tests that indicate grade-level performance. These should reflect state academic standards and the curriculum aligned to them.States next set student performance goals - the percentage of students overall and the percentage of students in specific groups expected to achieve proficiency - based on test results from previous years.Student performance goals will be raised on a regular schedule between now and 2014 so by 2014, all students - and all subgroups of students - will be performing at grade level.Test scores must be publicly reported, not just for schools, but also for specific groups within the schools; low-income students, those belonging to racial or ethnic minorities, students with disabilities or limited English proficiency, and several other groups.By 2005-06, states will test every student annually in reading and math from grades 3 - 8 and at least once in these subjects in grades 10 - 12. By 2007 - 08, states must test students in science at least once during grades 3 - 5, grades 6 - 9, and grades 10 - 12.Schools and districts must demonstrate annually that all students - and all groups of students - are meeting state goals for grade-level work to be counted as making AYP.Schools and districts will not be counted as making AYP if one or more of the specific student groups misses the performance goal. It doesn’t matter if the school misses the goal by a little or a lot - or by one group of students or many. All groups must meet the goals for a school to make AYP.If schools or districts do not make AYP for two years in a row, they are considered "schools in need of improvement."If schools in need of improvement receive Title I funds (federal support for high-poverty schools), special requirements apply to them. These funds are supposed to provide financial and technical assistance in addition to helping the school develop and implement a school improvement plan. Furthermore, eligible parents will be able to transfer their children to other public schools or get outside tutoring assistance for them. (See NCLB Timeline below).School improvement efforts must focus on programs and approaches that have research evidence that demonstrates their effectiveness.
- If schools getting Title I funds continue to fall short of AYP, they will face more extensive changes over the course of several years, including possible restructuring, state takeover, or management by private firms.
- In every school, all teachers of core academic subjects (i.e., English, language arts, mathematics, science, foreign languages, civics and government, economics, arts, history, and geography)must be "highly qualified" by 2005-06. Between now and 2005-06, every newly hired teacher must be highly qualified."Highly qualified" teachers are defined by the law as those who hold at least a bachelor’s degree, are fully licensed or certified by the state in the subjects they teach, and can demonstrate competence in the subjects they teach.States must develop plans to ensure that all teachers are highly qualified by 2005-06, setting measurable goals for districts and schools. States and districts must report annually on their progress and on the percentage of teachers who are receiving professional development to help them become highly qualified.Title I schools must annually notify parents that they can request information on the qualifications of their children’s teachers. Parents in these schools must also be notified if their child is taught for more than four weeks by a teacher who does not meet the law’s definition of "highly qualified."
- Paraprofessionals who are newly hired after January 2002 must have two years of college or an associate’s degree, or they must demonstrate knowledge of, and the ability to, assist with reading, writing, and mathematics through a formal state or local assessment. Currently employed paraprofessionals have until 2006 to meet these requirements.
- By 2005-06, states must measure progress in reading and mathematics for every student in each of grades 3 - 8 and at least once for students in grades 10 - 12.By the end of the 2005-06 school year, states must ensure that all teachers are highly qualified.By 2007-08, states must measure student progress in science at least once during each of the following grade spans: grades 3 - 5, grades 6 - 9, and grades 10 - 12.
- By the end of the 2013-2014 school year, states must demonstrate that all students are meeting the federally required goals for grade-level achievement.
Schools in need of improvement that receive Title I funds must take the following steps, proceeding to the next step in the series if they continue to fall short of the AYP goal:
- After two years, schools must adopt two-year improvement plans, invest in professional development for teachers, and give parents the option to transfer their children to a higher-performing public or charter school in the district, with the district paying for transportation. Priority for transfers will go to the lowest-achieving, low-income students.After three years, schools continue improvement efforts and give students from low-income families the option of obtaining supplemental educational services (i.e. tutoring) from private providers.After four years, schools continue previous improvement activities and also are subject to "corrective action." Corrective action must involve one or more of the following: implementing a new curriculum, replacing school staff members, appointing an outside expert as adviser, extending the school day or year, or restructuring the school.After five years, schools must plan for restructuring, which may involve replacing staff members, contracting with a private firm to manage the school, or turning school operations over to the state education agency.
- After six years, schools must implement their restructuring plan.