The Facts About...Making Gains Every Year
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The Challenge: Too many schools are not showing academic progress. Unfortunately, the current system hides schools that need to be improved.

The Solution: Set clear goals and timeframes; give parents information on academic achievement; and provide choices if their child's school continues to be identified as in need of improvement.


Democrats and Republicans agree that failure will no longer be funded.

  • Since 1965, more than $321 billion in federal funding has been spent to help schools provide the best education possible for disadvantaged students. Under the old law, schools continued to receive this funding whether or not their students learned to read or perform basic math skills.

No Child Left Behind ties funding to academic achievement for the first time in history.

  • The bipartisan support and popularity of No Child Left Behind shows that Americans are united for results and that schools must use taxpayer funds on programs that work.

Improvement at a snail's pace and chronic underachievement are inadequate and unacceptable.

  • Under No Child Left Behind we must ensure that every child learns, and that starts with setting measurable goals and standards for every school.

Academic expectations and improvement timeframes will be clear.

  • States will establish academic achievement goals by setting academic standards in core subjects and measuring progress using tests aligned to state standards.
  • States will set annual progress goals for school improvement, so all students can reach proficiency and no child is left behind.
  • Schools will be identified as needing improvement if they are not meeting these goals.

This law has punch. Parents have options when their schools don't improve.

  • Parents of children in schools in need of improvement have the choice to direct district funds toward transportation costs to a better public school or toward supplemental services (tutoring or after-school programs) for their child.

No Child Left Behind supports schools and is realistic about progress.

  • Schools that are making measurable improvement but experience a one-year dip in academic achievement are given a fair chance to demonstrate that the decline is out of the ordinary.
  • Schools that don't demonstrate adequate yearly progress for two consecutive years are identified as needing improvement and subject to immediate interventions—beginning with technical assistance and then more serious corrective actions if the school continues to not make Adequate Yearly Progress.

Failure cannot hide.

  • Test data will be reported by economic background, race and ethnicity, English proficiency and disability.
  • Measuring progress by subgroups will demonstrate not just that overall student performance is improving, but also that achievement gaps are closing between disadvantaged students and other students.
  • Holding schools accountable for the academic achievement of all subgroups ensures that no child is left behind.

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Last Modified: 07/15/2004