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No Child Left Behind

Definition: No Child Left Behind

On Meet the Press yesterday, Tim Russert and Co. showed a clip of Bill Clinton campaigning, saying that No Child Left Behind was a bad idea because not enough teachers were consulted. Bill said it was supported by George W. Bush and Ted Kennedy "and everyone in between." Which included Hillary. Russert then pulled out a 2001 memo in which Hillary supported the act. Here are the details of the legislation so that you can decide for yourself.


Signed into law in 2002, this act aims to increase performance in secondary and primary schools by placing greater emphasis on a state's and school's accountability toward helping students reach defined educational benchmarks.

Based on the idea that setting firm and high goals will positively impact learning and performance, the act requires that all students be tested annually in math and reading from grades 3-8, and at least once in high school to determine whether schools are meeting goals.

No Child Left Behind is definitely controversial. Those in favor of the act point to improved test scores, increased accountability for teachers and school administrators, and more attention to minority populations, helping them meet educational goals along with their peers. The act provides more funding, more local control for schools, and increased choice and flexibility for students and parents, allowing students the choice to leave under-performing schools in favor of a higher quality education elsewhere. If you think you disagree with this, read more.

Detractors opine that a focus on standardized tests encourages curriculum geared toward test success, rather than deeper understanding of the material. They dislike the disincentives for low performing schools, and cite inequality by providing English-only based assessments, and dispute federal funding for faith-based education.

The act was up for renewal in 2007 and as of December 7, 2007, Secretary of Education, Margaret Spellings, announced that schools will now have more flexibility over how they measure growth, expanding the program allowing the tracking of individual score fluctuation, rather than relying on group based assessments.

For more info on NCLB check out the Department of Education.

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