January 2002: President Bush signs the No Child Left Behind Act into law.
What you need to know about the law:
- The goal of No Child Left Behind was to hold schools accountable for the performance of all students based on State standards in reading and mathematics, annual testing for grades 3-8 and annual statewide progress objectives. All students had to perform at grade level in reading and mathematics by 2014.
- Assessment results and State progress objectives were to be separated by poverty, race, ethnicity, disability and limited English proficiency to ensure that no group was left behind.
- Resources were to be better targeted to school districts with high concentrations of poor children and to give states and districts more flexibility in how they spent a portion of their federal allotments.
Why the law is disliked:
- Some think that the 2014 goal is unrealistic.
- Teachers and parents think it led to teaching to the test.
September 2011: President Obama offers to lift the 2014 deadline for states that promise to follow his administration's school improvement agenda.
What you need to know about this agenda:
- States that agree to overhaul low-performing schools and adopt more rigorous teacher evaluation systems may apply for a waiver for relief from the deadline.
- States that receive waivers may then design their own school accountability systems.
What states have received waivers:
- Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Jersey, Oklahoma and Tennessee
- New Mexico applied and did not get it. The state is working with the administration to get approval.
- 28 other states have signaled that they plan to seek a waiver.
Why the waiver plan is disliked:
- Congressional Republicans see it as executive overreach.
- Civil rights groups think schools are getting a waiver on helping poor and minority children.
What's happening now:
- Rep. John Kline, R-Minn., the chairman of the House Education and the Workforce Committee, released new legislation Thursday to rewrite No Child Left Behind. It included a provision that would prohibit the education secretary from persuading states into adopting specific academic standards in exchange for a waiver.