On January 8, 2002, the president of the United States signed into law a bipartisan education package that greatly expands the federal role in public education. Building on the 1994 Improving America's Schools Act, No Child Left Behind (NCLB) will affect every state and public school district in the country beginning with the 2002-2003 school year. More than 90 percent of America's school districts receive funding for more than 40 federal educational and supportive services programs covered by the act. The wide range of services supports before and after-school programs, family literacy, parenting classes, library materials, technology services, educating migrant children, and safe and drug-free schools. Of the nine titles in the act, Titles I and II are the largest programs, in terms of both requirements and funding. More than 47,000 schools will receive Title I funds for extra academic support for low-income children. All school districts are eligible for Title II funds to train, retain, and recruit qualified teachers, principals, and paraprofessionals.
The main focus of NCLB is to improve the academic achievement of students in low-performing schools around the country. It strives to have every student achieving at a proficient level, as defined by each state, by the 2013 -- 2014 school year.
To achieve this objective, the act focuses on the following elements:
- Development of state standards, assessment systems, and accountability measures
- Highly qualified teachers, principals, and paraprofessionals
- Rewards for schools that meet or exceed academic expectations
- Identification of schools that fall behind in progress toward state standards
- Funding for schools that need special assistance to meet NCLB requirements
- Parental and community involvement
- Parental choice and supplemental services