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No Child Left Behind (NCLB)

No Child Left Behind (NCLB) is a piece of bipartisan education reform that was proposed by President George W. Bush during his first week in office, and passed by Congress on January 8, 2002. Read this article to learn more about this important law. No Child Left Behind, also referred to as Public Law (PL) 107-110, replaces the earlier general education law Elementary and Secondary Education Act, which was first passed in 1965. It covers education from kindergarten through high school. The No Child Left Behind Act is founded on four principles:

• accountability for results
• more choice for parents
• greater local control and flexibility
• emphasis on using scientific research to inform instructional choices

Increased Accountability

The accountability measures of No Child Left Behind build on pre-existing Title I regulations. They require states to implement accountability systems that are statewide and cover all public schools and students. The accountability measures include:

• challenging standards in reading and mathematics
• annual testing in grades 3-8 for all students
• annual objectives for statewide progress with a requirement that all student groups (including groups characterized by poverty, race or ethnicity,  disability, and limited English proficiency) reach proficiency within 12 years
• measures to address districts and schools that fail to achieve adequate yearly progress (AYP) towards the statewide goals
• State Academic Achievement Awards for schools that either meet or exceed AYP goals or close achievement gaps between groups of students

More Choices

The choice initiatives approved in No Child Left Behind center around making it possible for parents to move students out of failing schools. Parents of children in Title I schools that do not succeed in meeting State standards must be given a choice by the Local Education Authority (LEA) of a better public school, within the school district. This can include a public charter school.


The No Child Left Behind Act gave states and Local Education Authorities (LEAs ) increased flexibility to use Federal education funds as they choose in exchange for the accountability noted above. This arrangement is rooted in an agreement between Governors and President George H. W. Bush taken at the education summit in 1989 at Charlottesville, Virginia which initiated the approach of trading “flexibility for accountability.”

Research-Based Instruction

Reading is one of the prime targets of the research-based instructional approach, with a commitment to ensure that all children can read by the end of third grade. To this end, the Reading First initiative increases Federal funding of scientifically-based reading programs in early grades. Additional support is also provided for early language, pre-reading development, and literacy instruction. Children from low-income families are of especial concern in providing this support.

The Structure of No Child Left Behind

The No Child Left Behind Act is structured as 9 Titles, which are often referred to as “Title #.” They are:

Title I         Improving the Academic Achievement of the Disadvantaged
Title II     Preparing, Training & Recruiting High Quality teachers and Principles
Title III     Language Instruction for Limited Proficient and Immigrant Students
Title IV     21st Century Schools
Title V     Promoting Informed Parental Choice and Innovative Programs
Title VI     Flexibility and Accountability
Title VII     Indian, Native Hawaiian and Alaska Native Education
Title VIII     Impact Aid Program
Title IX     General Provisions
Title X     Repeals, Redesignations and Amendments to Other Statues


United States Department of Education (USDOE): No Child Left Behind

National Dissemination Center for Children with Disabilities (NICHCY): NICHCY Connections . . . to the No Child Left Behind Act

U.S. Department of Education: Overview Executive Summary of No Child Left Behind

United States Government: H.R. 6 Improving America’s Schools Act of 1994

U.S. Department of Education: No Child Left Behind

The Education Trust: General Information on No Child Left Behind (NCLB)

San Bernardino County Superintendent of Schools: Curriculum and Instruction --" No Child Left Behind