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A Guide to US Education and No Child Left Behind - Essay Example

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The author of this paper states that the task of educating the people in the US falls on the governments. The Founding Fathers of the US has identified education as one of the most important functions of government. This focus was important to the Founding Fathers in writing the Constitution…
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A Guide to US Education and No Child Left Behind
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Download file to see previous pages On Jan. 8, 2002, President Bush signed the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 into law with tremendous bipartisan support. The final votes were 87-10 in the Senate and 381-41 in the House. Senators Ted Kennedy (D-MA) and Judd Gregg (R-NH) and Congressmen George Miller (D-CA) and John Boehner (R-OH) were its chief sponsors in the Senate and the House. (US Department of Education). The main proponent of the Act was President George W. Bush. President Bush wanted to expand the educational opportunities for all students, including students who are just learning the English language and students who are new to the US. The law ensures that all children regardless of their ethnic and cultural origin can receive a quality education and enhance their academic potential. The Act reflects the President's education reform plan and contains changes to the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA). The NCLB Act enhances the federal government's role in K-12 education by focusing on school success as measured by student achievement. The Act also contains the President's four education reform principles: stronger accountability for results, increased flexibility and local control, expanded options for parents, and an emphasis on teaching methods that have been proven to work. With this law, American taxpayers will derive benefits from their heavy investment in education. (Paige and Gibbons, 2004)
No Child Left Behind was the successful culmination of a standards-and-testing movement that began with A Nation at Risk report by the Reagan administration in 1983. This push for a standards-based reform gained further support during the 1989 education summit in Charlottesville, Virginia. In that summit, President George H. W. Bush together with the nation's governors set performance goals for American schools. By 1991, President Bush's "America 2000" proposal included voluntary national testing tied to world-class standards. President Clinton signed into law "Goals 2000," which provided grants to help states develop academic standards. With the 1994 reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, the states were required to develop content and performance standards for K-12 schools. Congress adopted the adequate yearly progress that became the linchpin of accountability in No Child Left Behind. States were mandated to make substantial progress toward the goal of academic proficiency for all students. However, at that time, there was no deadline for these standards to be met. Several states which were supposed to pass the standards failed to meet these standards. (Paige and Gibbons, 2004).
The first feature of the NCLB is that it demanded greater accountability by increasing the annual goals for student achievement. Schools and districts register adequate yearly progress (AYP) toward meeting set targets. Educators must meet their targets. NCLB has set minimum standards for teacher quality. These standards assist local educational agencies such as districts on decisions covering curriculum, textbooks, and materials. These standards constitute a starting point for developing assessments to measure student mastery. Annual assessments are done and all students are classified into one of these performance levels.  ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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