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How Will NCLB Affect You?

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Note: Congress has reauthorized the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), the statute formerly known as No Child Left Behind. The new statute, Every Student Succeeds Act, was signed into law by President Obama on December 10, 2015.


No Child Left Behind (NCLB) includes requirements about parental involvement, highly-qualified teachers, scientifically based reading instruction, tutoring and supplemental educational services, research-based teaching methods, and school and school district report cards.

If you are a parent, teacher, administrator, child advocate, or attorney, these articles will help you learn how No Child Left Behind will affect you.

 Parents l Educators l Reading l Tutoring & SES l High-Stakes Tests & Retention
l State & District Responsibilities l Students with Disabilities l

Parents & Parental Involvement

No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Terms Every Parent Should Know. This article from the U.S. Department of Education details commonly used terms that parents may hear when discussing or reading about No Child Left Behind.

A Parent's Guide to No Child Left Behind. Sue Heath, co-author of Wrightslaw: No Child Left Behind, describes new requirements for teachers and paraprofessionals, school and school district report cards, annual testing in math and reading. Learn about new options for parents, including transfers from failing schools and free supplemental services - tutoring, after-school programs and summer school.

Schools Must Measure Progress & Report Results to Parents. Schools must measure each child's progress every year and report these results to parents and the public. Yes, this requirement applies to children in special education.

A New Wave of Evidence: The Impact of School, Family and Community Connections on Student Achievement by Southwest Educational Development Laboratory

"You have a right to know whether your child is learning at school . . .
If your child is not making adequate progress in school, you
can and must ask why
- Secretary Rod Paige

Educators & Administrators

No Child Left Behind: What Educators, Principals & Administrators Need to Know. Sue Heath, co-author of Wrightslaw: No Child Left Behind, describes new requirements about educating teachers and paraprofessionals, school and school district report cards, and annual testing of math and reading skills.

Facts About Teacher Training & Certification: Are We Destroying the Future, One Child at a Time? We take a closer look at teacher quality, training and certification. Learn about the findings of the Teacher Quality Report, check your state's pass rates for teachers, and learn more about the No Child Left Behind Act.

Reading (see also Research-Based Instruction)

4 Great Things About Reading in NCLB. Regardless of their "category" or label, most kids with special educational needs have deficits in reading. No Child Left Behind includes four legal definitions that Pete is using in his cases: reading; essential components of reading instruction; scientifically based reading research, and diagnostic reading assessments.

No Child Left Behind for Attorneys and Advocates: Reading Instruction, Research & Assessments. This article provides guidance about how to use NCLB to open doors for children with disabilities. Learn about reading, the essential components of reading programs, scientifically based reading research, and reading assessments.

No Child Left Behind: Reading by Grade 3. Because two-thirds of students are not proficient readers when they finish school, No Child Left Behind focuses on teaching children to read. This article outlines requirements that schools, school districts and states use research-based reading programs and prepare teachers so they teach children how to read.

Research-Based Reading Instruction. Practical strategies to find tutors and evaluators for children with reading problems.

Teaching a Child to Read: Special Ed or Reading First? Sue Heath's advice to a parent whose child is not learning to read.

High-Stakes Tests, Retention (see also High-Stakes Tests & Retention)

Exit Exams Can Be Optional If You Plan Ahead - Research editor Sue Heath describes a winning strategy to remove the state exit exam as an obstacle so otherwise qualified kids can graduate with real high school diplomas.

High-Stakes! Can the School Use a Single Test to Retain My Child? Research editor Sue Heath answers questions from parents about high-stakes testing and mandatory retention.

Proficiency: How Will Kids Be Tested? Article describes the No Child Left Behind requirements about annual proficiency testing and the goal that all children be proficient in math, reading and science by the 2013-2014 school year.

10 Strategies to Fight Mandatory Retention Policies - Learn how to find answers to questions in the law and devise strategies to fight mandatory retention and other damaging policies.

State and School District Responsibilities: Accountability

Don't Turn Back the Clock! In a joint letter to Congress, more than 100 African American and Latino superintendents voiced support for the accountability provisions in Title I (NCLB). They were joined by over 135 other educators, superintendents and civic leaders from across the country who urged Congress to stay the course on accountability. Download letter

Facts About State Improvement Lists
. What happens when schools do not make adequate yearly progress? Learn about state, school district and state report cards; supplemental services to children who attend low performing schools.

Lowering the Bar of Expectations. Secretary of Education warns that "Some states have lowered the bar of expectations to hide the low performance of their schools . . . others are discussing how they can ratchet down their standards to remove schools from their list of low performers."

No Child Left Behind: Overview of Public Law 107-110. No Child Left Behind promises to raise standards for all children and to help all children meet these standards. This article focuses on deadlines, legal clarifications, and offers legal and advocacy resources.

No State Left Behind: The Challenges and Opportunities of ESEA 2001 by Education Commission of the States

No Child Left Behind Act - A Description of State Responsibilities by Council of Chief State School Officers (July 2002 draft)

Notification and Reporting Requirements for Local School Boards by National School Boards Association

Reaching New Heights: Turning Around Low-Performing Schools by National Governors Association.

Students with Disabilities

Children with Disabilities Under No Child Left Behind: Myths & Realities. The National Association of Protection & Advocacy Systems (NAPAS) focuses on four myths about what NCLB and IDEA requires for students with disabilities. Also available in pdf.

No Child Left Behind and Students with Learning Disabilities: Opportunities and Obstacles
. Candace Cortiella,
director of The Advocacy Institute, describes benefits and barriers that No Child Left Behind (NCLB) poses for students with learning disabilities (LD).

Something Fairly Amazing Happened on December 9
. Sue Heath, co-author of Wrightslaw: No Child Left Behind, explains and describes the new regulation about alternate assessments for students with significant cognitive impairments that was published by the U. S. Department of Education on December 9, 2003.

Isn't It Illegal to Refuse Accommodations on High-Stakes Tests?
 Answers to a teacher's questions about accommodations on high-stakes tests.

Assessing Students With Learning Disabilities Under No Child Left Behind. Make informed choices about state assessments your child with learning disabilities is required to take.

No Child Left Behind Act of 2001: Reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act by Council for Exceptional Children.

NCLB and IDEA: What Parents of Students with Disabilities Need to Know and Do (PDF). Together, NCLB and IDEA provisions and requirements combine to provide both individualized instruction and school accountability for students with disabilities.

Implementing the No Child Left Behind Act: What it Means for IDEA by National Association of State Directors of Special Education

No Child Left Behind Act of 2001- Implications for Special Education Policy and Practice, Selected Sections of Title I and Title II by Council for Exceptional Children (September 2002).

No Child Left Behind Act of 2001: Reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act - A Technical Assistance Resource Council for Exceptional Children (October 2003)

Tutoring & Supplemental Educational Services

Opportunities for Supplemental Educational Services under No Child Left Behind. Candace Cortiella, director of The Advocacy Institute, describes key provisions in NCLB that are important to students with learning disabilities (LD) and their parents. Understanding these opportunities is essential to making use of the potential they hold for students with LD.

No Child Left Behind, School Choice and Tutoring. Sue Heath, co-author of Wrightslaw: No Child Left Behind, describes educational services for parents who do their homework and plan ahead.

Free tutoring under the No Child Left Behind Law. Your child may qualify for free tutoring, but you need to know your rights and ask questions to get the full benefit of the services the law requires.

Wrightslaw: No Child Left Behind

Wrightslaw: No Child Left Behind (ISBN: 1-892320-12-6) by Peter W. D. Wright, Pamela Darr Wright and Suzanne Whitney Heath includes:

  • Full text of the No Child Left Behind Act
  • Analysis, Interpretation & Commentary
  • Advocacy Strategies, Tips & Sample Letters
  • No Child Left Behind CD-ROM of Publications & Resources

Learn what the law says about -

  • Scientifically Based Reading Instruction
  • Proficiency Testing in Reading, Math, Science
  • Free Tutoring, Summer School, After-School Programs
  • Transfers from Failing Schools and School Choice
  • New Qualifications for Teachers and Paraprofessionals
  • Bonus Pay, Stipends, Scholarships for Teachers and Principals
  • Teacher Liability Protection

Bonus! The Wrightslaw: No Child Left Behind CD-ROM includes the full text of the NCLB statute with overviews and commentary, NCLB regulations, dozens of guidance publications from the U. S. Department of Education and other references and resources. (contents of CD)

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Last revised: 05/31/13