FAQ On No Child Left Behind
Will President Obama Reform No Child Left Behind?
President Obama and Vice-President Biden will reform NCLB, which starts by funding the law. the Obama Administration believes teachers should not be forced to spend the academic year preparing students to fill in bubbles on standardized tests. They will improve the assessments used to track student progress to measure readiness for college and the workplace and improve student learning in a timely, individualized manner. the Obama Administration will also improve NCLB's accountability system so that we are supporting schools that need improvement, rather than punishing them.
Does He Support High-Quality Schools and
Close Low-Performing Charter Schools? Barack Obama and Joe
Biden will double funding for the Federal Charter School Program to
support the creation of more successful charter schools. The
Obama-Biden administration will provide this expanded charter school
funding only to states that improve accountability for charter schools,
allow for interventions in struggling charter schools and have a clear
process for closing down chronically underperforming charter schools.
the Obama Administration will also prioritize supporting states that
help the most successful charter schools to expand to serve more
Will He Make Math and Science Education a National Priority? The Obama Administration will recruit math and science degree graduates to the teaching profession and will support efforts to help these teachers learn from professionals in the field. They will also work to ensure that all children have access to a strong science curriculum at all grade levels.
How About Addressing the Dropout Crisis? The Obama Administration will address the dropout crisis by passing legislation to provide funding to school districts to invest in intervention strategies in middle school -- strategies such as personal academic plans, teaching teams, parent involvement, mentoring, intensive reading and math instruction, and extended learning time.
Can the Administration Expand High-Quality
Afterschool Opportunities? The Obama Administration will
double funding for the main federal support for afterschool programs,
the 21st Century Learning Centers program, to serve one million more
What About Support English Language
Learners? The Obama Administration support transitional
bilingual education and will help Limited English Proficient students
get ahead by holding schools accountable for making sure these students
How Will He Recruit Teachers? The
Obama Administration will create new Teacher Service Scholarships that
will cover four years of undergraduate or two years of graduate teacher
education, including high-quality alternative programs for mid-career
recruits in exchange for teaching for at least four years in a
high-need field or location.
How Will Help Prepare Teachers?
The Obama Administration will require all schools of education to be
accredited. the Obama Administration will also create a voluntary
national performance assessment so we can be sure that every new
educator is trained and ready to walk into the classroom and start
teaching effectively. the Obama Administration will also create Teacher
Residency Programs that will supply 30,000 exceptionally well-prepared
recruits to high-need schools.
Can the Administration Help Retain
Teachers? To support our teachers, the Obama-Biden plan
will expand mentoring programs that pair experienced teachers with new
recruits. They will also provide incentives to give teachers paid
common planning time so they can collaborate to share best practices.
How Will He Reward Teachers?
The Obama Administration will promote new and innovative ways to
increase teacher pay that are developed with teachers, not imposed on
them. Districts will be able to design programs that reward with a
salary increase accomplished educators who serve as a mentors to new
teachers. Districts can reward teachers who work in underserved places
like rural areas and inner cities. And if teachers consistently excel
in the classroom, that work can be valued and rewarded as well.
Can the President Help Students with
Disabilities? Obama and Biden will work to ensure
the academic success of students with disabilities by increasing
funding and effectively enforcing the Individuals with Disabilities
Education Act, and by holding schools accountable for providing
students with disabilities the services and supports they need to reach
their potential. Obama and Biden will also support Early Intervention
services for infants and toddlers, and will work to improve college
opportunities for high school graduates with disabilities.
What Are the Current
Provisions of the NCLB Law?
(Reprinted from the U.S. Department of Education during the Bush Administration)
do I know how my child is doing?
No Child Left Behind gives parents new tools to help their children learn and to help improve America's schools. No Child Left Behind is designed to highlight success and shine a light on failure. It will give you objective data. Every state will test students in grades three through eight on what they know in math, reading and science. Many parents have children who are getting straight A's, but find out only later that their child is not prepared for college. That's why No Child Left Behind seeks to give parents objective data about how their children are doing.
child has special needs. How does this bill help my child?
No Child Left Behind gives districts new flexibility and freedom with Federal funds so children with disabilities can be better served. President Bush and the Department of Education will work with Congress to make sure reform starts with getting children help, focusing on results, and reducing the regulations that hinder outreach to these children.
are the requirements of the No
Child Left Behind Act for states and school districts to
publish "report cards" on school performance?
State test results will be reported to the public in order to hold schools accountable for improving the academic achievement of each and every one of their students. The following information will be on the report card:
School districts must prepare annual reports for parents and the public on the academic achievement of all schools combined and of each individual school. The school district report cards will include the same information in the state report card. In the case of an individual school, the report card will include whether it has been identified for school improvement and how its students performed on the state test compared to the school district and state as a whole.
can I see these school report cards?
In addition to student report cards, schools will report overall results for student learning. These campus report cards must be disseminated widely through public means, which could be posted on the Internet, distributed to the media, or distributed through public agencies.
these tests measure the progress of the schools?
Yes. No Child Left Behind received bipartisan support of both Democrats and Republicans because it demands results from every school for the benefit of every child. Every year, Americans will be able to find out whether their school is improving - or to put it another way: whether it is making adequate yearly progress.
will measuring "adequate yearly progress" help improve my school?
Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) is an individual state's measure of yearly progress toward achieving state academic standards. It sets the minimum level of improvement that states, school districts, and schools must achieve each year. No Child Left Behind raises the bar of expectations for all students - especially those ethnic groups and those disadvantaged students who are falling farther and farther behind and who are most in danger of being left behind.
It works like this: States start by defining adequate yearly progress - the measurements of academic improvement a school must achieve to ensure that, at the end of 12 years, every student graduating will have a mastery of the basics.
Each state chooses where to set the initial academic achievement bar based on the lowest-achieving demographic group or based on the lowest-achieving schools in the state, whichever is higher. Once the initial bar is established, the state is required to "raise the bar" gradually to reach 100 percent proficiency at the end of 12 years. The initial bar must be raised after two years and subsequent thresholds must be raised at least once every three years.
This guarantees every school will be striving to improve.
if a school fails to improve?
Parents will get options for their children and districts will have ways to get children extra help. Schools that have not made state-defined adequate yearly progress for two consecutive school years will be identified as needing school improvement before the beginning of the next school year.
Immediately after a school is found to be in need of improvement, officials will receive help and technical assistance. These schools will develop a two-year plan to turn around the school. Every student in the school will be given the option to transfer to a better public school in the district.
If the school does not make adequate yearly progress for three consecutive years, the school remains in school improvement and the district must continue to offer public school choice to all students. The school must also provide supplemental educational services to disadvantaged children. Parents can chose the services their child needs from a list of approved providers.
If the school fails to make adequate yearly progress for four consecutive years, the district must implement certain corrective actions to improve the school, such as replacing certain staff or fully implementing a new curriculum, as well as continuing to offer public school choice and pay for supplemental services.
If a school fails to make adequate yearly progress for five consecutive years, it will be identified for restructuring. First, it would have to develop a plan and make the necessary arrangements to implement significant alternative governance actions, state takeover, the hiring of a private management contractor, converting to a charter school, or significant staff restructuring.
During this entire time of getting the school help, parents and children will get public school choice and supplemental services, so they won't be trapped in failing schools and risk being academically left behind.
there any rewards for schools or teachers that do well?
The law authorizes state academic achievement awards to schools that close achievement gaps between groups of students or exceed academic achievement goals. States may use Federal funds to financially reward teachers in schools that receive academic achievement awards. In addition, states may designate schools that make the greatest achievement gains as "Distinguished Schools."
the public school choice options include only schools in the same
district, or might they include schools in neighboring school districts?
Options may include a neighboring school district. If a school is identified for school improvement, corrective action, or restructuring, your district must provide all students in the failing school the option to transfer to another public school that is not failing, no later than the first day of the school year following identification.
However, if all public schools served by the district are in school improvement, corrective action, or restructuring, the district must try to establish a cooperative agreement with other districts to provide students the option to transfer to another public school. In addition, nothing in the No Child Left Behind Act prohibits districts from establishing cooperative agreements, regardless of whether all schools in a particular district are failing. Public school choice must be provided unless state law prohibits it.
transportation be offered to pupils exercising public school choice
Yes. Districts must provide transportation required for a student to exercise public school choice under school improvement, corrective action, restructuring, or interdistrict choice offered as part of corrective action for a school.
pupils in "failing" schools will be eligible for public school choice?
All children attending schools identified for school improvement, corrective action, or restructuring are eligible to exercise public school choice, but districts must give priority to low-income students (as defined by the district) if it is not possible to serve all students.
do I know if my child is eligible for supplemental services?
Eligible children are those from low-income families (as defined by the school district) who are attending a school in its second year of school improvement, in corrective action, or identified for restructuring.
can I find out what kind of extra help is available from the school?
Your school must provide you with a list of the programs available in the area, so you have a full set of options to find whatever services your child needs to get caught up.
Schools that are required to provide supplemental services must:
Annually notify parents of the availability of those services,
including the identity and qualifications of approved providers and a
description of the services they provide;
2. Help parents select a provider, if such help is requested; and
3. Enter into an agreement with a provider for each student that includes goals and a timetable for improving the student's achievement, regular progress reports, a provision for termination if the provider fails to meet the goals, timetables, and payment terms.
will provide supplemental services?
Providers can be non-profit, including faith-based organizations, or for-profit entities with a "demonstrated record of effectiveness" in increasing student academic achievement. The provider must be capable of providing supplemental educational services consistent with the instructional program of the district and the state's academic standards.
In addition, providers must give parents and the school information on the progress of the children served, ensure that instruction is consistent with state and local standards, including state student academic achievement standards, and meet applicable health, safety, and civil rights laws.
community-based organizations participate in programs funded under No
Child Left Behind?
Yes. Community-based organizations and other public entities and private organizations, including faith-based organizations that provide safety and drug abuse programs, can apply for Federal funds under the law.
my child is in a charter school, do testing and accountability apply?
The accountability and testing provisions in No Child Left Behind must also be applied to charter schools in accordance with states' charter school laws. As public schools, charter schools are subject to the same accountability and testing requirements, but state authorized chartering agencies, as established by state law, are responsible for ensuring charter schools are meeting the requirements and being held accountable.
No Child Left Behind provide for the facility financing of
Yes. No Child Left Behind includes two measures that provide for the facility financing of charter schools. The first measure provides facility-financing assistance to states and localities that support charter schools by allowing the Secretary of Education to award matching incentive grants to those states that provide charter schools with per-pupil expenditure funds.
second measure extends the Charter School Facility Financing
Demonstration Project for an additional two years. The Charter School
Facility Financing Demonstration Project encourages the development of
innovative approaches to credit enhancement and leverages private
capital for charter schools to use for infrastructure needs.
children doing in reading?
Not well. Approximately 40 percent of students across the nation cannot read at a basic level. Almost 70 percent of low-income fourth grade students cannot read at a basic level. In other words, these children struggle with fundamental reading skills like understanding and summarizing a story. Almost half the students living in urban areas cannot read at a basic level. Average-performing students have made no progress over the past 10 years, and the lowest-performing readers have become less successful over this same time period.
the key to
helping children become successful readers?
We know what works. Research has consistently identified the critical skills that young students need to become good readers. Teachers across different states and districts have demonstrated that sound, scientifically-based reading instruction can and does work with children. The critical missing piece lies in helping teachers benefit from the relevant research in each and every classroom. Real, nationwide progress can be made when we bring together proven methods and actually use them in America's classrooms to make sure that every child becomes a successful reader.
is it so
important for children to read better so early in school?
Research shows that children who read well in the early grades are far more successful in later years. Putting it another way-reading is a gateway skill to all learning. Young, capable readers can take greater advantage of school opportunities and develop invaluable confidence in their own abilities. Reading success leads directly to success in other subjects such as social studies, math, and science. In the long term, students who cannot read well are much more likely to drop out of school and be limited to lower-paying jobs throughout their lifetimes. Reading is undeniably one of the foundations for success in society.
is being done
to help children learn to read well by the end of the third grade?
Improving the reading skills of children is a top national and state priority. The President, the First Lady, the Secretary of Education, governors, business leaders, elected officials, citizens, community organizations, parents, and teachers are deeply committed to doing whatever it takes to ensure that every child can read. In the past few years, science has provided tremendous insight into exactly how children learn to read, and related research has identified the most essential components of reading instruction.
First exactly, and what are its specific goals?
Reading First is a bold new national initiative, squarely aimed at helping every child in every state become a successful reader. For this purpose, up to nearly $6 billion will be distributed among the 50 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico over the next several years. These funds are specifically dedicated to helping states and local school districts establish high-quality, comprehensive reading instruction for all children in kindergarten through third grade.
about Reading First?
Reading First, unlike previous national reading programs, is a classroom-focused nationwide effort designed to help each and every student become a successful reader. Every state will be eligible to apply, and the most needy schools and districts will receive the funds and other support they will need to succeed. It differs from earlier initiatives by establishing clear, specific expectations for what can and should happen for every single student in a classroom. Reading First specifies that teachers' classroom instructional decisions must be informed by scientifically-based reading research.
Through Reading First funds, grants will be available for state and local programs in which students are systematically and explicitly taught five key early reading skills:
First help classroom teachers?
Reading First appropriately concentrates attention on classroom learning. After all, during the average school day, students spend most of their time in classrooms. Classroom instructional time should reflect the most accurate and up-to-date knowledge about the science of teaching children how to read. For that reason, Reading First provides funds to states and local districts to help classroom teachers improve the reading instruction they deliver to all of their children.
States will ensure that primary grade teachers deliver reading instruction that is informed by scientifically-based reading research. For those teachers in schools and districts with the greatest need, Reading First funds may be used to organize additional professional development, purchase or develop high-quality instructional materials, or administer assessments or diagnostic tests. The common goal is to make sure that teachers have all the necessary tools to provide coherent, skills-based reading instruction for all children.
expectations of Reading First?
Students are expected to become proficient readers by the end of third grade. Teachers are expected to deliver consistent and coherent skills-based reading instruction. District and state leaders are expected to provide educators with ongoing, high-quality support that makes a difference in the classroom. Reading First contributes to these high expectations by steadfastly supporting high-quality local and state reading initiatives with the funds needed to make real improvements.
will we know if Reading First is working?
Reading First will be working when every child in our country becomes a successful and proficient reader, irrespective of economic circumstances or family background. Further, these efforts work when every child can read and understand a mathematics problem, social studies textbook, or science experiment because of a firm reading foundation established in the early elementary years through well-delivered, strong instruction. These efforts work when every child is ready for success and achievement in the later grades because every child mastered reading in the early grades.
School Violence Talking to Your Kids
is the "Unsafe
School Choice Option" in the No Child Left Behind Act?
States receiving any funds under the Act must establish and implement a statewide policy requiring that a student be allowed to attend a safe public elementary or secondary school within the local education agency, including a public charter school, if he or she:
persistently dangerous public elementary and secondary school, as
determined by the state in consultation with a representative sample of
local educational agencies, or
2. Becomes a victim of a violent criminal offense, as determined by state law, while in or on the grounds of a public elementary or secondary school that the student attends.
States must certify in writing to the Secretary of Education that they are in compliance with this provision as a condition of receiving funds under No Child Left Behind.
will this law
help teachers keep the classroom safe?
No Child Left Behind ensures that teachers, principals, and other school professionals can undertake reasonable actions to maintain order and discipline in the classroom without fear of litigation.
will this law help my child's teacher?
Nothing is more important to a child's education at school than having a well-prepared teacher. That's why No Child Left Behind puts special emphasis on teaching. Right now, some children aren't getting teachers who have mastered what they are teaching:
can I help my child's teacher?
The best thing to do is get involved and make sure your school knows about all the new opportunities in the law including grants for retraining. Talk to your school board members and meet with your child's principal. Remind them that No Child Left Behind gives states and districts the flexibility to find innovative ways to improve teacher quality, including alternative certification, merit pay, and bonuses for people who teach in high-need subject areas like math and science.
You have a right to know how your child is doing. That starts with meeting with your child's teacher, working with your child on homework, and spending time reading and talking. But the most important thing is to understand how education is changing and to help your schools enter the new era of No Child Left Behind.
effect will testing have on my child?
For some parents, testing causes stress and anxiety. But in reality, children have always been assessed throughout the year to ensure they know the academic content taught in the classroom. Testing once a year using a standardized test gives an independent insight into the school's progress in order to ensure that your child isn't left behind or trapped in a failing school before it is too late to face the real tests in life. Handled by the school, testing becomes a normal, expected way of assessing whether curriculum has been taught.
the results of my child's test be private?
Absolutely. Only you and the school will get to see how your child is improving and progressing. Although states and districts will release report cards on their student test results, individual student scores will not be made public.
Some people say that testing will make teachers "teach to the test." Are those people right?
No Child Left Behind does not encourage teachers to cover the exact test questions. The state tests are expected to measure the state's academic standards. The material should be taught in the classroom. If teachers cover the subject matter required by the standards and teach it well, students should do well on the test. It's like taking a driver's test. The instructor covers all the important content the state wants you to know and much more.
Many of the nation's best schools and those improving the fastest don't just think testing is important. They think that without it, improving education would be impossible. Don McAdams, a member of the Houston Independent School District Board of Education, says: "School systems and schools exist to educate students. The core activity is teaching and learning. How can a school system or a school continuously improve if it does not measure growth in student achievement? As quality management teaches: What you value, you measure; what you measure, you get. It is almost inconceivable that a school system would not want to know the answer to the most fundamental of all questions: Are the children learning?"
testing help teachers?
Annual testing tells teachers the strengths and weaknesses of every child. With this knowledge, teachers can craft lessons to make sure each student meets or exceeds state standards. It also tells the teacher if he or she has been effective teaching particular content. If your child's teacher is spending weeks before the test cramming in material, that is a sign that the curriculum at your child's school may not be aligned with the academic standards being tested.
about principals? Will testing help them?
Absolutely. Annual tests show principals exactly how much progress each teacher's students have made, so they can make good decisions about program selection, curriculum arrangement, and professional development. Along with other provisions in No Child Left Behind, they'll have the information and the freedom to get funding for exactly what teachers need to meet the needs of every child.
and math and eventually science will be tested.
What about other subjects?
No Child Left Behind doesn't require annual statewide testing of other subjects, but that doesn't mean your state won't test history, geography, or writing skills, for example. Many states recognize how important it is to measure whether the schools are getting results in every academic area and to make sure parents aren't disappointed with their child's education. Reading and math are key to the mastery of all other subjects and to a child's success in life. That's why No Child Left Behind focuses on those subjects.
will pay for these tests?
No Child Left Behind authorized $387 million for states to develop and administer the tests. Many states began this process years ago using state funds.
if I want to home school my child? Does the new law
require tests at home?
Nothing in the No Child Left Behind Act affects a home school or permits any Federal control over any aspect of a home school, whether that home school is treated as a home school or a private school under state law. Students who are home-schooled are not required to take any test referenced in the law.
is the National Assessment of Educational Progress
(NAEP), and what is its purpose?
NAEP tests are administered to a sample of students in each state from a variety of backgrounds to get an overall picture of a state's progress. Beginning with the 2002-2003 school year, the Department of Education will pay for your state to participate in the NAEP reading and math assessments for fourth and eighth grade students every two years. That way you'll know how your state is comparing with others.
"Responsibility for our
children's education must begin at home."
- The Parental Involvement Pledge.pdf, branded with your school's name, for distribution to every student and family. (Title I Learning Compact!)
- Web page for the Parental Involvement Pledge Online, branded with your school's name, for accessibility anywhere!
- The Parental Involvement Report Card.pdf - a self diagnostic tool for distribution to every parent, grandparent, and caring adult.
- Parent Organizing Database 1.0.1 software runs on any Windows computer, and is easy enough for everyone to learn. Features List.pdf
- Parental Involvement Certificates for Schools and Individual Volunteers.Also Included:
Masterfiles are in Adobe Portable Document Format (.pdf files). Toolboxes are delivered by e-mail.
- Family Wellness Compact. Fitness and Nutrition Parental Involvement Pledge!
- PowerPoint Central! The Best Parental Involvement Training Resources In America
- How To Run A Successful Pledge Campaign
- Project Appleseed's Newsletter Appleseed Today
- Regular e-mail updates on Project Appleseed and parental involvement best practices.