December 16, 2004 Extra Credit
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December 16, 2004

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Improving America’s High Schools Part II: The Promise And Vision

Today’s youths need solid academic preparation not just for the Ivy League and other universities but also for the trades, automotive repair, high-tech manufacturing, and other jobs that provide self-supporting income. They also need these foundational skills to manage their personal lives, guide their families, and actively exercise the rights and responsibilities of citizenship.

The United States cannot continue to succeed in a challenging international economic environment if we allow large numbers of our youths to leave high school unprepared. Fortunately, America’s education leaders are responding to the call for change.

The No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) is the landmark bipartisan education legislation passed by Congress and signed into law by President Bush. Under NCLB, schools are accountable for educating all students, no matter their race, income, or background. Students are assessed annually in reading and math in grades 3-8 and once during high school. And students in schools in need of improvement are allowed to transfer to a better public school and may qualify for free tutoring. NCLB is making fundamental changes in the American education system and results are already being seen.

Older students are among those benefiting from the high expectations found in NCLB. Many high schools are finding ways to help students catch up academically, master high levels of academic content, and make smooth transitions into further education, training, and the high-skill workplace. A school that provides rigorous academics for all students maximizes the number of options students have after graduation.

But more needs to be done to improve our nation’s high schools. As part of the effort to strengthen high schools for all students, President Bush has called for annual learning assessments for students in grades 9-11. Annual assessments in high school will help ensure that schools’ accountability for results does not stop at middle school and that high school students, no matter their race, income, or background will have the tools necessary to succeed.

More information regarding high schools and what is being done to improve them is available on the U.S. Department of Education’s Preparing America’s Future website at:


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: 12/16/2004