Jan 08, 2018
The controversial education reform was meant to herald a new era of helping struggling students—but more than a decade on, policy planners are still left struggling with the law’s legacy.
The No Child Left Behind Act turned 15 this week – and while few people are celebrating the now-defunct Act (the Every Student Succeeds Act superseded it last year) – it’s an opportunity for educators and policy planners to reflect on NCLB’s complicated legacy.
Hailed at its birth as a milestone for education reform, the NCLB’s name today is synonymous with an overzealous approach to standardized testing and federal oversight of states’ education policies.
In its original 2002 form, the NCLB required states to divert funds to “special education services” like free tutoring to students from struggling schools. That requirement eventually fell away as states sought waivers from fulfilling the obligation: by 2005, only 17% of eligible students received free tutoring. Congress eventually removed the requirement in 2015.
The ESSA still allows states to reserve funds for academic tutoring. But the bigger issue now is whether the states can get their act together to make meaningful education policies. So far, the picture isn’t rosy.
With public schools nationwide facing all sorts of policy and funding woes—and alternatives like school choice and charter schools remaining ever controversial—parents still have recourse to private tutoring to offer students the crucial academic support that both the NCLB and ESSA promised to deliver.
Special Report: NCLB + 15 — Insiders Look Back (and Forward) at How Congress’s Breakthrough Education Law Changed America’s Schools https://www.the74million.org/article/nclb-15-insiders-look-back-and-forward-at-how-congress-breakthrough-legislation-changed-americas-schools/