Last Saturday, January 8, 2005, marked the three-year anniversary of President Bushs signing of the No Child Left Behind Act. The following is the statement by U.S. Secretary of Education Rod Paige released on the anniversary:
Today we celebrate the third anniversary of the No Child Left Behind Act, a law that, in the words of Education Week, is taking root all across America. Today our children learn in classrooms that are focused on the basics, under teachers who are more highly qualified, in an environment that values each and every one of them.
This sea change was sparked by the vision of President Bush, who strongly believes that every child can learn and every school must teach them. Credit also belongs to the dedicated educators and administrators who work hard each day to make the law work. From the school district to the statehouse, they are once again fulfilling their Constitutional role as education leaders, not followers.
The No Child Left Behind Act has not just taken root, it has borne fruit. Eighty-four percent of the states credit it with improved academic performance. Reading and math test scores are up, with the greatest gains made by those once at greatest risk of being left behind. Programs like Reading First are uniting sound science with greater resources to yield real results.
Now we must take the next step and apply these principles to our high schools. Over 80 percent of the jobs of the 21st century will require some post-secondary education. Our economic competitiveness increasingly depends upon our educational competitiveness. Our high school graduates must be ready to work and to learn.
Students are not the only beneficiaries of No Child Left Behind. As test scores have risen, so have our expectations. As the achievement gap has begun to close, our eyes and minds have been opened. And this is just the beginning.
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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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