NCLB Goals and Penalties
By Kavan Peterson, Staff Writer
No Child Left Behind, President Bush's signature education reform law signed in 2002, is designed to raise academic achievement for all students and close gaps that separate students of color and low-income students from their peers by the 2013-2014 school year. All public schools and districts are subject to NCLB goals and reporting requirements. Schools or districts receiving Title I federal funds, which are earmarked for needy students and go to about 90 percent of public school districts in the U.S., are subject to penalties designed to close achievement gaps.
NCLB goals and provisions:
- Students must be tested annually in reading and math in grades 3 to 8 and once in high school. Students also will be tested in science beginning in the 2007-2008 school year. Test scores must improve each year for a school to demonstrate what is known as Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP). States must break down test scores by subgroup, including racial and ethnic minorities, non-English speaking and low-income students and students with physical and learning disabilities.
- Schools and districts will be considered "in need of improvement," or failing AYP, if test scores in any group fail to meet state goals for two or more years. (See AYP timeline below) At least 95 percent of students in schools, and in each subgroup, must be tested. Schools also must;meet goals set by their state for high school graduation rates. It doesn't matter if schools miss any goals by a little or a lot;all subgroups must meet all state proficiency goals to make AYP.
- The number of students that pass state reading and math tests must increase every year until 100 percent of students are passing by 2013-2014 school year. States are allowed to offer alternative tests to 1 percent of students -- those who have the most significant cognitive disabilities. U.S. Education Secretary Margaret Spellings announced in April 2005 that states can ask permission to test an additional two percent of students with cognitive disabilities at the lower achievement level.
- States must make sure all public school teachers of core academic subjects are "highly qualified" by the 2005-2006 school year. States asked for and received extra time for teachers in rural areas who teach more than one core subject.
Penalty timeline for schools "in need of improvement:"
- After 2 years: Schools must allow parents to transfer their children to other public schools. They also must develop a school improvement plan and spend 10 percent of their Title I allocation on teacher professional development.
- After 3 years: Schools must provide eligible students with "supplemental services," which generally means tutoring.
- After 4 years: Schools must take "corrective action," such as replacing school staff, adopting new curriculum or extending the school day.
- After 5 years: Schools face takeover by the state or a contracted private education firm.