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No Child Left Behind

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Definition: No Child Left Behind refers to an act of Congress that was signed into law on January 8, 2002. The original bill was bipartisan in nature and co-authored by Senator Ted Kennedy. The purpose of the Act is to promote standards-based education. In order to receive federal funding for schools, states were required to develop basic skills assessments at different grades throughout the school year. Importantly, No Child Left Behind did not propose the creation of national standards or national exams for students to pass. Instead, standards were and are to be created and assessed by each individual state.

While many see high stakes testing as a cause of concern, the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) results, released in July 2005 showed improvement across the board in basic reading and math skills. On the other hand, opponents of the law argue that the statistics are not entirely accurate in showing gains made through efforts of the bill itself. There are many who argue the the bill has had unintended consequences of reducing funding and attention to programs such as the arts and gifted education since the focus of schools is on funding core or remedial education.

Also Known As: NCLB
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