How No Child Left Behind Benefits African Americans
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"For the first time ever, we are looking ourselves in the mirror and holding ourselves accountable for educating every child. That means all children, no matter their race or income level or zip code."

-- Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings

In the past, too many African American students have been shortchanged by our nation's schools.

  • In the greatest country in the world, we created two education systems – separate and unequal.
  • Forty years after the Brown v. Board of Education decision, some schoolchildren were taught well while others – mostly poor and minority – were left to struggle or drop out.
  • A growing "achievement gap" between white and African American students was left unaddressed for far too long.

The bipartisan No Child Left Behind law ensures that schools are held accountable for the academic progress of every child, regardless of race, ethnicity, income level or zip code.

  • Because of No Child Left Behind, closing the achievement gap is now a national priority.
  • Schools are now held specifically accountable for the annual progress of African American students.
  • Schools must have high expectations for every child -- the soft bigotry of low expectations is no longer tolerated.

Parents now receive important information about the academic performance of their child and his/her school.

  • No Child Left Behind requires annual assessment of students in grades 3-8 and once more in high school.
  • The law requires states and school districts to give parents easy-to-read, detailed report cards on schools and districts, telling them which schools are succeeding.

When schools don't make the grade, families are given new options.

  • Schools that don't meet state academic standards for two years in a row are identified as "in need of improvement."
  • Parents must be offered the choice of sending their child to another public or public charter school in the district that is not in need of improvement, as well as transportation to that school.
  • Schools that don't meet state standards for three years must offer free tutoring or other academic services to eligible low-income students.

No Child Left Behind encourages parents to get involved.

  • No Child Left Behind requires schools to develop strategies to promote parental involvement.
  • When a school is found to be in need of improvement, school officials are required to work with parents, teachers, the school district, community leaders and outside experts to develop a plan to turn the school around.

No Child Left Behind is working for African American students.

  • According to the Nation's Report Card, reading and math scores for African American 9-year-olds, and math scores for African American 13-year-olds, are at all-time highs.
  • The achievement gaps in reading and math between white and African American 9-year-olds are at all-time lows.
  • In the past several years, academic progress in urban schools has outpaced national gains, according to the Council of the Great City Schools

President Bush and Congress continue to demonstrate their commitment to education.

  • President Bush's FY 2006 budget would increase total funding for No Child Left Behind to $25.3 billion, an increase of $8 billion, or 46 percent over FY2001 levels.
  • The budget would increase Title I funding for low-income students to $13.3 billion, an increase of $4.6 billion, or 52 percent since the law was enacted.

For more information on No Child Left Behind visit or call 1-800-USA-LEARN.

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Last Modified: 09/02/2005