Center for American Progress

STATEMENT: CAP’s Brown on the 10th Anniversary of the No Child Left Behind Act
Press Statement

STATEMENT: CAP’s Brown on the 10th Anniversary of the No Child Left Behind Act

Press Contacts

  • Katie Peters

Washington, D.C. — Today Cynthia G. Brown, Vice President for Education Policy at the Center for the American Progress, issued the following statement marking the 10th anniversary of the passage of the No Child Left Behind Act:

The No Child Left Behind Act leaves a mixed legacy. On one side the law was seminal, a major step forward in improving our nation’s schools. For the first time in our nation’s history, the federal government shined a spotlight on the large achievement gap between historically advantaged and disadvantaged students. The law spurred action to close those gaps and improve the achievement of all. Furthermore, NCLB took important steps to improve the qualifications of our nation’s educators with the goal of ensuring all students have access to a good teacher.

NCLB also has significant flaws, however, that must be addressed immediately. When Congress passed the law, they relied on the best information available for improving the quality of teachers and schools. Today we know far more, and it’s clear that NCLB needs an overhaul. For instance, NCLB tags schools as “in need of improvement” whether they missed achievement targets by a wide margin or just a few points. And while the law helps to ensure teachers have the credentials necessary to enter the classroom, it does not guarantee that the educators are actually effective in the classroom.

NCLB was scheduled for revision in 2007 but has stalled through three congressional terms. Now is the time for policymakers to work together to improve this important but flawed legislation.

The No Child Left Behind Act, also known as the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, was signed into law on January 8, 2002.

To speak to Cynthia Brown about this topic, contact Katie Peters at kpeters1@americanprogress.org or 202.741.6286.

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