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December 18, 2003, Extra Credit
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December 18, 2003
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 December 17
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Final Exam Week: True/False On One-Size-Fits-All

True or False: No Child Left Behind is a one-size-fits-all solution.

Answer: False. In fact, No Child Left Behind provides unprecedented flexibility for state and local leaders to develop their own solutions and to target federal resources where they are needed most. Consider the following:
  • Every state has developed its own unique accountability system within the overall framework of No Child Left Behind. State accountability systems are built on two foundations - standards and assessments. These critical ingredients are developed, designed, and determined by states. States have always had and continue to have at their discretion the determination of their content and achievement standards and the design of their assessments.

  • The most critical education decisions continue to be made at the local or state level. These include deciding what children should learn and when they should learn it, choosing a curriculum, and hiring teachers and principals.

  • States and local school districts can transfer up to 50 percent of the funding they receive for Teacher Quality, Educational Technology, Innovative Programs, and Safe and Drug-Free Schools, to any one of these programs or to Title I. This ability to transfer federal funds among certain accounts is new under No Child Left Behind.

  • Because of the proven correlation between teacher quality and student academic achievement, No Child Left Behind requires states to place a highly qualified teacher in every classroom by the end of the 2005-2006 school year. Each state is responsible for developing its own definition of “highly qualified” and each state has the flexibility to develop its own system to measure teacher qualifications. States are also encouraged to be innovative in finding ways to improve teacher quality, including alternative certification, merit pay, and bonuses for teachers in high-need subject areas like math and science.

  • States and local school districts also have the opportunity to apply for demonstration projects providing even more flexibility in how federal resources are used.

Note: The No Child Left Behind Extra Credit will not be published the weeks of December 22 and December 29. Publication will resume on January 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: 12/18/2003