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Does “no Child Left Behind” Leave Minority Kids Behind?

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Does “No Child Left Behind” Leave Minority Kids Behind?


President George W. Bush only 3 days after taking office announced No Child Left Behind, his bipartisan education reform plan. Less than 1 year later the landmark No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) of 2001 was passed. The major areas in this plan according to the Executive summary by the Department of Education, are increased accountability for States, school districts, and schools; parents and students have greater choices especially those who attend low-performing schools; more flexibility in the use of Federal education money by States and local educational agencies; and a stronger emphasis on reading, especially for young children (

Each State had to make sure that there was a statewide accountability system covering all public schools and students. The system must be based on challenging State standards in reading and mathematics; annual testing of student’s grades 3-8 and annual statewide progress objectives that all groups of students reach proficiency by 2014. All assessment results and state progress objectives must be broken down by poverty, race, ethnicity, disability and limited English proficiency to make sure no group is left behind. If a school district or school failed to make yearly gains toward the goals they would be subject to improvement, corrective action, and restructuring to get them back on course to meet the State standards. Schools that meet or exceed the yearly progress goals or close achievement gaps are eligible for State Academic Achievement Awards (

Families of students who attend schools identified for improvement, corrective action, or restructuring have the choice to attend a better public school within the district at district expense for transportation and must use 5% or its Title I funds for this purpose (

Students attending schools that continue to be failing for at least 3 of the 4 preceding years, must be able to use Title I funds to obtain tutoring services from a public or private sector provider chosen by the students and their parents (

Failing schools are given an incentive to improve. If after 5 years they still do not meet standards they run the risk of reconstitution under a restructuring plan (

NCLB created the Early Reading First program that made 6-year awards to districts to support early language, literacy, and pre-reading development of preschool age children especially those from low-income families. The Reading First program is a 6-year grant to States that give the grants to local schools that screen and use diagnostic assessments to determine which students in grades K-3 are at risk of reading failure and provide professional development for K-3 teachers in the essential components of reading instruction. The purpose is to reduce the identification of children for special education services because of the lack of appropriate reading instruction in their early years (

Does NCLB act leave minority children behind? I believe it does. According to Monty Neill, he feels that the law will have the opposite effect of its name, with the most damage being done to low-income and minority students (Neill, 2003).

NCLB will damage schools that have large numbers of low-income and minority students. In schools where children

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