Almost ten years after No Child Left Behind was created, a growing number of schools are having trouble meeting the law's benchmarks. States had been required to achieve 100 percent proficiency in reading and math by 2014.
Proposed by the George W. Bush administration, NCLB supports standards-based education reform, which is based on the concept that setting high standards and establishing measurable goals can better individual outcomes in education. The Act requires states to develop assessments in basic skills to be given to all students in certain grades, if those states are to receive federal funding for schools.
However, Education Secretary Arne Duncan said that President Obama would sign an executive order to allow schools who are still falling short to bypass the law.
"The law No Child Left Behind as it currently stands is four years overdue for being rewritten. It is far too punitive. It's far too prescriptive, led to a dumbing-down of standards, led to a narrowing of the curriculum," said Duncan.
All 50 states are eligible to apply for a waiver through an application process.
According to Justin Snider of The Hechinger Report, a nonprofit news organization that is focused on producing in-depth education journalism, a state will apply, and there will be an outside -- not just the Department of Education -- committee judging the state's application and deciding whether to issue the waiver.
"Whether it's issued or not will depend on: one, whether the state has adopted standards that make it look like students will graduate from high school college- and career-ready; and, two, whether states are doing anything to evaluate their teachers' effectiveness; and, three, whether they're trying to turn around failing schools; and, four, whether they're doing anything -- or whether they have any plans to implement new accountability provisions," he said.
"The law No Child Left Behind as it currently stands is four years overdue for being rewritten. It is far too punitive. It's far too prescriptive, led to a dumbing-down of standards, led to a narrowing of the curriculum." -Education Secretary Arne Duncan.
"At a time when we have to get better, faster education than we ever have, we can't afford to have the law of the land be one that has so many perverse incentives or disincentives to the kind of progress we want to see." -Education Secretary Arne Duncan.
1. What is educational reform?
2. What is No Child Left Behind?
3. What was the original legislation proposed to do?
1. In your opinion, why are schools falling short of meeting their goals? Discuss.
2. If you were the Secretary of Education, how would you improve the U.S. education system?
3. What are some critiques of No Child Left Behind?