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December 17, 2003, Extra Credit
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December 17, 2003
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 December 16
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Final Exam Week: True/False on Schools in Need of Improvement

True or False: No Child Left Behind labels schools as "failing" and those schools lose federal Title I money.

Answer: False.
No Child Left Behind does not label any school as "failing." In fact, states are responsible for identifying schools not reaching the state-defined standards for two consecutive years as "in need of improvement." And far from losing federal funds, schools in need of improvement actually qualify for additional support to help the school get back on track. While certainly every school should always be looking for ways to improve, schools identified for improvement are specifically required to work with parents, school staff, the local education agency, and outside experts to develop an improvement plan. Here's a quick look at some of the activities that are part of that process:

  • LEA Provides Technical Assistance: The local education agency (LEA) must ensure that the school receives needed technical assistance as it develops and implements its improvement plan. Examples of technical assistance can include everything from help identifying problems in instruction or curriculum to help analyzing and revising the school's budget so that resources are more effectively targeted to activities most likely to help students learn.

  • Develop Strategies To Strengthen Core Academic Subjects: The school's improvement plan must incorporate strategies, relying on scientifically based research, that will strengthen core academic subjects, especially the subject areas that resulted in the school's being deemed in need of improvement.

  • Help Teachers Improve Their Skills: A school in need of improvement must spend at least 10 percent of its Title I funds to improve the skills of teachers. Schools also are expected to incorporate a teacher mentoring program.

  • Increasing Parental Involvement: The school's improvement plan must include strategies to promote effective parental involvement in the school.

Note: The No Child Left Behind Extra Credit will not be published the weeks of Dec. 22 and Dec. 29. Publication will resume on Jan. 5, 2004.

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About Extra Credit
NCLB Extra Credit is a regular look at the No Child Left Behind Act, President Bush's landmark education reform initiative passed with bipartisan support in Congress.

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Last Modified: 12/17/2003