NCLB (No Child Left Behind) and Students with Disabilities

NCLB (No Child Left Behind): The Law of Education

When President Bush enacted into law the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Act of 2001 as the legal mandate for school communities in 2002, academic achievement became student centered and research based. The educational bar was raised for the first time in decades and actual data was required to measure student performance in the classroom. In the Learning First Alliance, 2002, listed in the resources below and here, you can find additional information regarding the legal accountability of NCLB.

Learning First Alliance, 2002. Major Changes to ESEA in the No Child Left Behind Act.

Next Steps in NCLB and AYP School Accountability

In 2008, annual science assessments became the legal mandate of NCLB. Student proficiency in math, reading and writing under NCLB Act continued to be charted by annual assessments. Schools that didn’t make AYP (Adequate Yearly Progress) in all areas of proficiency risked funding loss and had to provide other school choice to students and parents not meeting the requirements. What AYP didn’t account for was the increased enrollment in schools meeting AYP and the decline in enrollment in schools not meeting it. In some Districts, schools were closed due to declining enrollment based on AYP scores in proficiency areas.

According to NCLB, students had to achieve at least a 95% proficiency in all content areas. Students with disabilities had to perform academically in reading, writing and math as part of NCLB’s annual assessment. Some students with special needs who met state qualifications were allowed the annual evaluation using an academic portfolio.

So Next Steps…..

The next steps in NCLB will be to increase student academic performance and accountability in reading, writing, math and in 2013, science. Schools will have annual evaluations using AYP regarding school performance and some schools will close and others will experience increased enrollment and increased anxiety in integrating new students into the school community and into the highest level of proficiency testing. In closing the achievement gap, NCLB and AYP must resonate in the accountability of the leadership in District and within the teachers who provide direct instruction to students in the classroom.


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