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No Child Left Behind Act of 2001: Provisions

No Child Left Behind (NCLB) is comprised of hundreds of pages of text. The law is divided into ten sections, called titles. The titles, and summaries of the law in each of these titles, are:

Title I: Improving Academic Achievement of the Disadvantaged

Most of the major requirements of NCLB are found somewhere in Title 1. It authorizes the federal and state governments to set aside funding for schools that comply with NCLB requirements. These include creating challenging statewide assessments for its students’ academic achievement, and submitting a plan to the state and federal departments of education which is designed to improve student scores on these assessments. States may also choose to set other goals for school improvement, such as increasing the high school graduation and attendance rates. Teachers must be “highly qualified,” although this requirement is not fully explained until Title II. School districts must then file annual reports with the federal and state departments of education that evaluates whether the district has made adequate yearly progress toward those goals. Additionally, schools must work to inform parents about students’ academic achievement and ensure that teachers and administrators are accessible to parents who wish to have greater input.

Title I goes on to describe the consequences for failing to meet adequate yearly progress. These consequences do not apply to schools that have not made adequate yearly progress but whose students can demonstrate proficiency in core subject areas, and also allocates additional funds to schools that are particularly struggling.

Additional money is set aside to fund a number of other programs designed to raise student achievement, including:

·         Literacy programs such as additional reading courses for both students and parents;

·         Support for students with disabilities;

·         Advanced Placement programs;

·         Support for children who move often, including standardizing school records and increasing collaboration between different school districts so that the student experiences minimal disruption;

·         Grants for schools that serve Native American students;

·         Grants for schools that implement reformed curricula based on scientific evidence of effective teaching techniques;

·         Programs designed to reduce the dropout rate; and

·         Support for students who are categorized as “at-risk,” neglected, abused, or returning from a correctional facility.

Finally, the Secretary of Education must prepare a yearly assessment of NCLB and its provisions, and recommend improvements to the law.

Title II: Preparing, Training, and Recruiting High-Quality Teachers and Principals

This section authorizes funding to states that ensure their teachers are “highly qualified.” Funds can be used toward teacher recruitment, licensing, professional development, and the creation of programs designed to encourage other professionals to become teachers.

Title II funds may also be used to retrain teachers in the event a school fails to make AYP for three years.

Funds are also set aside so that schools may purchase technology for use in the classroom.

Title III: Language Instruction for Limited English Proficient and Immigrant Students

States that receive funding under Title III must create a plan for students who are learning English along with the rest of their studies. Their secretaries of education must file a report aggregating the number of English language learners in their school districts and demonstrating that those students have made adequate yearly progress toward English proficiency.

Like the rest of NCLB, the English language learning programs must be based on scientific evidence and analyses.

Title IV: Twenty-first Century Schools

This title allots funds which schools can use to improve student safety and reduce illegal student drug use.

Title V: Promoting Parental Choice and Innovative Programs

These funds are should be used by school districts to serve two purposes. First, school districts can create new and different programs designed to serve the unique needs of their school district. Second, the school district should create programs that give parents the freedom to influence their child’s education, such as the creation of charter schools with particular focus, or offering specialized education programs with several different concentrations.

Title VI: Flexibility and Accountability

Title VI funds may be used to develop and implement statewide assessments designed to measure the school districts yearly progress toward their improvement goals.

Title VI also authorizes certain states to consolidate all NCLB funding in order to use it in the most effective way possible.

Title VII: Indian, Native Hawaiian, and Alaska Native Education

This title extends NCLB’s provisions to schools that serve Native Americans, and helps those school districts design programs to educate those children on Native American culture and languages.

Title VIII: Impact Aid Program; Title IX: General Provisions; & Title X: Repeals, Redesignations, and Amendments to Other Statutes

These three sections concern the administration of NCLB’s provisions, defines certain terms, and ensures that NCLB does not conflict with other federal laws.

For more information, see FindLaw’s sections on School Funding and Competency Testing.

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