The No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) is the major federal law supporting public education in the United States. It was signed into law by President Bush in January 2002. In addition to being the major source of funds for elementary and secondary education in the country, this law also supports Massachusetts PIRC.
NCLB is a complex law. But its purposes are simple: to ensure that all children in the U.S. receive a high-quality education and to close the achievement gap.
The achievement gap exists between children who typically perform well in school and those who do not. Many of these students are from minority racial and ethnic groups, have disabilities, live in poverty, or do not have English as their first language. These students are least likely to have access to a high quality education, as well. NCLB has a special interest in closing this gap.
To achieve its purposes, NCLB holds to some common sense principles. For example, the law requires that schools
- Be held accountable for results.
- Use methods of instruction that are proven through research to work.
- Involve parents by giving them information and choices about their child’ education.
NCLB views parents as invaluable assets in helping their own children succeed in school and in helping schools improve. It gives parents significant new rights and options, with the aim of empowering parents to be informed consumers in their children's education.