No Child Left Behind Act


No child left behind is an act of the United States congress. This act was legislated to cover education matters of children who attended public academic institutions. This paper seeks to discuss the American No Child Left behind Policy. The paper will discuss the origin of the policy, the implementation of the policy as well as the current status of the policy.

Origin of the No Child Left Behind Policy

Legislations are majorly undertaken by politicians and most of them are normally attached to forces that influence political leaders, if at all the causes for the legislations are not political. It is believed, according to Emery Kathy, that the No Child Left behind Act was born from forces of the corporate community that must have influenced two figures in the then American politics, President Bush and Ted Kennedy, to consent over the legislation.

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The corporate community which is made of about three hundred chief executive officers in the United States and founded in the year 1989 is believed to have influence of the American politicians and the American legislative process. The history of the act can be traced to the year 1989 when the group of CEOs, known as the business roundtable, resolved that states should offer education systems that were results oriented.

Proposals for recognizing outstanding performances and punishing inefficiencies in the education sector were then made by the roundtable. Objectives of this driving force were developed into specified goals such as “state standards, state tests, sanctions and transformation of teacher education programs” (Emery 1). It is this body that organized for support of the act which they obtained in the year 2000 by convincing a number of legislatures to adopt the act (Emery 1).

The history of the bill can also be traced through the United States’ legislations on education policies. Legislations on education started with the enactment of the “elementary and secondary education act of 1965” (Mon 3). The federal government adopted the funding of education sector in its state in a bid to counter poverty in the country.

The policy, however, suffered a blow as it failed to attract the support of Reagan’s presidency that ascended to office in the year 1980. Change in politics in the year 1989 again revived the earlier support for education systems with plans made for goals in education sector to be achieved by the year 2000.

Goals such as increasing “high school graduation rate” (Mon 3), ensuring that the America education system produced competent people and ensuring that American students became the best in mathematics and science were then outlined (Mon 3). The “improving America’s schools act” (Mon 3) then followed in the year 1994 before the later development of the No Child Left behind Act of the year 2001 (Mon 3).

The legislation was, however, initiated by the political class. Immediately after taking office as the president of the United States of America, President Bush announced his intentions to reform the education system under the umbrella of “No Child Left Behind” (NCLB 1). The president then called for support of legislation towards improving the American education system among leaders. His call bore fruits as he got the congress support which passed the bill in the year 2001 (NCLB 1).

The bill was, however, proposed in the congress by Rep Boehner and John A. and was introduced in the house in March 2001 (Thomas 1). The act is generally implemented by the states department of education among other stakeholders. Views regarding implementation of the act are, for example, directed to the United States department of education portraying the impression that the department is the supervisory body in the implementation of the act (Education 3)

No Child Left Behind Policy

The No Child Left behind Act was enacted by the United States’ congress in the year 2001. It was then signed into law in the year 2002. The act made provisions regarding the education system in American public schools with the aim of improving learning in these government institutions.

The act, for example, provided that states in the country had to enforce “standards-based assessments in reading and mathematics for pupils in grades 3-8 by the school year 2005-2006” (Olivert 2). Further provisions were made for similar standards in science in the subsequently following year. The act also provided for financing of states in order to ensure that the outlined standards by the act were implemented.

According to the act: “all states will be required to participate in the national assessment of education test” (Olivert 2) at two grade levels and after every two years. It further required states to establish annual standards and to develop a goal for each and every pupil in school to obtain advanced level in education. Such initiative is to be undertaken within a period of twelve years for each and every child in a public school or a government agency with extension to other learning institutions in the United States.

The act further outlined provisions for initiatives to review academic programs in the public institutions as well as the review of funding of the recommendations of the provisions of the act. Apart from the federal funding of the public schools, the act also allowed state governments to divert funds from other policies and sectors into the implementation of the act (Olivert 3).

The No Child Left behind Act was basically reinforcement to the previously enacted act that provided for government support over pre college academic institutions. In its provisions, the No Child Left behind Act expanded the role of the federal government in the education sector.

The act established the government as the basis of education in the United States by increasing the roles played by the government in education system on the pre college education. The main interest of the act is seen to be the population of disadvantaged children who suffered from limited resources in their learning process. Previous acts on pre college academic institutions did not make adequate provisions for students who had limited abilities and could not make it to specialized private institutions for studies.

The adequate funding as provided by the act together with assessments, standards and developments of goals for students in the public institutions was aimed at sufficiently supporting academic achievements of these students. The provisions of the act characterized changes and transitions in the education system by introducing new ideas and measures to ensure that the objectives of promoting elementary and secondary education were achieved.

Monitoring and evaluation mechanism for the progress made in the development of education standards in elementary and secondary institutions by provisions for testing and analysis of the performance of students in the subject institutions were also made in the act. Yearly testing was established for mathematics, reading and science to monitor a timeline development of students in schools.

Comparisons were also to be conducted regarding academic progress of students according to states. This provision offered an evaluation that would take into consideration the effectiveness of state administrations in academic performance as well as the implementation of the act according to states. The act also provided for the employment of only distinguishably qualified teachers into public schools (Edweek 1).

Criticisms have, however, been drawn over the act with political motive being pointed out as a major factor rather than the state or achievements of the public schools. Effective implementation of the act was immediately questioned as experts termed its provisions to be infeasible within its provided time frame. School administrators were reported to be opposed to the act which in their opinion would instead undermine the public institutions.

Regional analysis of schools performance according to states was also criticized owing to the diversity that is realized from one state to another. This diversity, according to some people has reflections on students’ academic performance hence downplaying the analysis of academic performance by state. The act has on the other hand been supported by others who believe that it will increase accountability in the management of the institutions (Edweek 1).


The No Child Left behind Act is an American legislation which was intended to improve standards of education in the United States. Though it was formally introduced by the then president, the act traces its origin from previous legislations on education as well as corporate influence. The act was enacted in the year 2001 and is implemented under the supervision of the department of education.

Works Cited

Education. Implementation of no child left behind act. Education State, 2007. Web. April 19, 2011.

Edweek. No child left behind. Edweek Organization, 2004. Web. April 19, 2011.

Emery, Kathy. Origins and purpose of “no child left behind”. Education democracy, 2005. Web. April 19, 2011.

Mon, Julia. The history of no child left behind. User, n.d. Web. April 19, 2011.

NCLB. Executive summary. No Child Left Behind, n.d. Web. April 19, 2011.

Olivert, Damian. No Child Left Behind Act: text, interpretation and changes. New York, NY: Nova Publishers, 2007. Print.

Thomas. Bill summary &status, 107th congress (2001-2002). Thomas Local Government, 2002. Web. April 19, 2011.


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