President Bush has made education his number one domestic priority. On January 23, 2001, he sent his No Child Left Behind plan for comprehensive education reform to Congress. At that time, he asked members of Congress to engage in an active bipartisan debate on how we can use the federal role in education to close the achievement gap between disadvantaged and minority students and their peers. The result, the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001, embodies the four principles of President George W. Bush's education reform plan: stronger accountability for results, expanded flexibility and local control, expanded options for parents, and an emphasis on teaching methods that have been proven to work.
The agreements will result in fundamental reforms in classrooms Throughout America. This is the most sweeping reform of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) since it was enacted in 1965. It redefines the federal role in K-12 education to help improve the academic achievement of all American students.
The following are some of the major provisions of H.R. 1, the No Child Left Behind Act.
Accountability for Results
H.R. 1 will result in the creation of assessments in each state that measure what children know and learn in reading and math in grades 3-8. Student progress and achievement will be measured according to tests that will be given to every child, every year.
H.R. 1 will empower parents, citizens, educators, administrators, and policymakers with data from those annual assessments. The data will be available in annual report cards on school performance and on statewide progress. They will give parents information about the quality of their children's schools, the qualifications of teachers, and their children's progress in key subjects.
Statewide reports will include performance data disaggregated according to race, gender, and other criteria to demonstrate not only how well students are achieving overall but also progress in closing the achievement gap between disadvantaged students and other groups of students.
Creating Flexibility at the State and Local Levels and Reducing Red Tape
To cut down on federal red tape and bureaucracy and enhance local control, H.R. 1 will reduce the overall number of ESEA programs at the U.S. Department of Education from 55 to 45.
For the first time, H.R. 1 will offer most local school districts in America the freedom to transfer up to 50 percent of the federal dollars they receive among several education programs without separate approval.
For the first time, all 50 states will also have the freedom to transfer up to 50 percent of the non-Title I state activity funds they receive from the federal government among an assortment of ESEA programs without advance approval.
H.R. 1 will allow the creation of up to 150 local flexibility demonstration projects for school districts interested in obtaining the flexibility to consolidate all funds they receive from several programs in exchange for entering into an agreement holding them accountable for higher academic performance.
Up to seven states will have new flexibility in the use of their non-Title I state-level federal funds in a variety of categories in the form of waivers from federal requirements relating to a variety of ESEA programs. States participating in the new demonstration projects will also be able to coordinate their efforts with local school districts through state-local "flexibility partnerships" designed to make sure federal education funds are being used effectively to meet student needs.
H.R. 1 will give local school officials serving rural schools and districts more flexibility and a greater say in how federal funds are used in their schools.
Expanding Options for Parents of Children from Disadvantaged Backgrounds
H.R. 1 creates meaningful options for parents whose children are trapped in failing schools and makes these options available immediately:
Public School Choice: Parents with children in failing schools would be allowed to transfer their child to a better-performing public or charter school immediately after a school is identified as failing.
Supplemental Services: Federal Title I funds (approximately $500 to $1,000 per child) can be used to provide supplemental educational services - including tutoring, after school services, and summer school programs - for children in failing schools.
Charter Schools: H.R. 1 expands federal support for charter schools by giving parents, educators and interested community leaders greater opportunities to create new charter schools.
Ensuring Every Child Can Read with Reading First
H.R. 1 authorizes an increase in federal funding for reading from $300 million in FY 2001 to more than $900 in FY 2002 and links that funding to scientifically proven methods of reading instruction through the President's Reading First plan.
Strengthening Teacher Quality
H.R. 1 asks states to put a highly-qualified teacher in every public school classroom by 2005. The bill also makes it easier for local schools to recruit and retain excellent teachers.
H.R. 1 will consolidate smaller programs within the US Department of Education. The bill also creates a new Teacher Quality Program that allows greater flexibility for local school districts.
In addition to specific funds for teacher quality, H.R. 1 will also give local schools new freedom to make spending decisions with up to 50 percent of the non-Title I federal funds they receive. With this new freedom, a local school district can use additional funds for hiring new teachers, increasing teacher pay, improving teacher training and development or other uses.
Under H.R. 1 a small sample of students in each state will participate in the fourth- and eighth-grade National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) in reading and math every other year in order to help the US Department of Education verify the results of statewide assessments required under Title I to demonstrate student performance and progress.
Promoting English Proficiency
H.R. 1 consolidates the US Department of Education's bilingual and immigrant education programs in order to simplify program operations, increase flexibility, and focus support on enabling all limited English proficient (LEP) students to learn English as quickly and effectively as possible. The new Act will focus on helping limited English proficient (LEP) students learn English through scientifically based teaching methods.
Under H.R. 1, all LEP students will be tested for reading and language arts in English after they have attended school in the United States for three consecutive years.
Under H.R. 1 parents will be notified that their child demonstrates limited English proficiency and is in need of English language instruction.