September 1, 2004 Achiever
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 September 1, 2004 • Vol. 3, No. 12
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What's inside...
Secretary Paige Lauds NCLB: "The Law Is Working"
Recapping the Summer's Events
Close-Up: No Child Left Behind—Teacher-to-Teacher Initiative
On the Horizon
New Guide! Implementing Supplemental Educational Services

Secretary Paige Lauds NCLB: "The Law Is Working"

In his remarks at the 2004 National Urban League Conference in Detroit on July 22, U.S. Secretary of Education Rod Paige celebrated the achievements of the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) in helping to improve learning for all students. The following is an excerpt of his remarks:

"Four years ago, this is what we saw when we arrived in Washington: we saw a de facto system of educational apartheid. This is no exaggeration of the facts. Millions of children were being left behind.

"This is the why of NCLB. ... No Child Left Behind requires accountability, testing and inclusiveness. It empowers parents with more information and more choices. It enables students in need to obtain tutoring and mentors. ...

"We know that No Child Left Behind is starting to generate some amazing results, transforming the educational landscape. We already see considerable evidence that the law is working.

"In the most recent results on the Nation's Report Card, or NAEP, the mathematics scores for fourth- and eighth-graders rose significantly across the board. Importantly, African-American, Hispanic-American and low-income students accounted for some of the most significant improvements. As a result, the achievement gap is closing. Further evidence comes from a recent report by the Council of the Great City Schools, which reviewed test scores from 61 urban school districts in 37 states. Students in the largest urban public school systems showed significant improvement in reading and math in the first year under No Child Left Behind.

"And last week, the nonpartisan Education Commission of the States found that most states are well on the way to meeting most of the requirements under the law. ...

"We still have a long way to go, especially in meeting requirements for highly qualified teachers. But this report is a milestone in documenting the revolutionary changes under way and in showing that the law is achievable. ..."

For the full text, visit the "Speeches" link at


Recapping the Summer's Events

This fall commences the third school year under No Child Left Behind, the historic law that promises stronger accountability for results, greater flexibility for states and communities, sounder education methods, and more choices for parents—all to improve the academic achievement of every one of America's more than 50 million school children.

In an effort to fulfill the law's mission, the U.S. Department of Education helped strengthen students' reading skills over the summer by extending to several sites across the country the No Child Left Behind Summer Reading Achievers Program. And for the nation's educators, the Department teamed up leading education researchers and teachers for the first-ever No Child Left Behind Research-to-Practice Summit. Details of these and additional developments from the summer follow:

Hundreds of elementary and middle school students in Gainesville, Fla., received free books from the Walt Disney Company during a July 13 event with U.S. Secretary of Education Rod Paige and Disney characters "Belle" and "Pierre" to launch this year's No Child Left Behind Summer Reading Achievers Program. The Florida district was one of 11 sites throughout the country participating in the program, which encourages students in grades K-8 to read at least 10 books during the summer months. Atlanta Public Schools piloted the program last year, with nearly 18,000 students reading over 150,000 books. This year's other sites included Springfield, Mass.; Portsmouth, N.H.; Pittsburgh, Pa.; Camden, N.J.; Kansas City, Kan.; Minneapolis, Minn.; Albuquerque, N.M.; San Diego, Calif., and the state of South Dakota. For more information, visit

On July 19, Secretary Paige welcomed more than 150 teachers from every grade level and nearly every state in the nation to the No Child Left Behind Research-to-Practice Teacher Summit. The two-day summit teamed prominent education researchers with teachers who have successfully put research into practice in the classroom and asked them to demonstrate their strategies in reading, mathematics, science and the arts. "[R]esearch must complement the humanity, empathy and scholarship of the teacher, not supplant it," said Paige. The national summit is part of the Bush administration's Teacher-to-Teacher initiative, which also includes seven regional workshops, roundtable discussions, a teacher toolkit and electronic e-byte updates. (See p. 3.) For the secretary's summit remarks, visit

Another initiative for providing professional development, the Department's Teaching American History Grants program awarded local school districts more than 122 grants averaging half a million dollars each to improve teachers'—and ultimately students'—knowledge of American history. The three-year grants fund activities that include "immersion visits" to historic sites in such cities as Boston and Philadelphia, and intensive training in the use of technology to enhance history education. The grants may also be used for scholarships for teachers who want to pursue graduate work in American history. For more information, visit

No Child Left Behind is not an "unfunded mandate," the Government Accounting Office (GAO) concluded in a report released early this summer entitled Unfunded Mandates: Analysis of Reform Act Coverage. GAO reviewed information on nearly 500 different statutes and regulations enacted in 2001 and 2002, including Congressional Budget Office reports about the legislation. It found, in fact, that No Child Left Behind did not meet Congress' definition of a mandate "because the requirements were a condition of federal financial assistance" and "any costs incurred by state, local or tribal governments would result from complying" with conditions for receiving funds. For the full report, visit

In other news about the progress of No Child Left Behind, the Education Commission of the States released a new report detailing state implementation activity on 40 unique indicators of the law. As of March 2004, all but two states and the District of Columbia had met or were on track to meeting 75 percent of the indicators—an impressive 109 percent increase over March 2003. The most comprehensive analysis of its kind, the report also reveals areas where some states are lagging behind in meeting the requirements. For more information, visit

Marking, in Secretary Paige's words, "another important step in meeting the Department's goal to transform education into an evidence-based field," the What Works Clearinghouse (WWC) released throughout the summer a series of reports reviewing the effectiveness of middle school math curricula and peer-assisted learning interventions. Of the hundreds of studies gathered on mathematics curricula in grades 6-9, only a handful met the WWC standards. The first set of peer-assisted learning studies showed positive effects for some learning strategies, but no effects for others. An initiative of the Department's Institute of Education Sciences, the WWC evaluates the quality of educational interventions and expects to issue more reports on other pressing topics, such as dropout prevention and adult literacy. For more information, visit


Close-Up: No Child Left Behind—Teacher-to-Teacher Initiative

"If you teach a child how to read, [he or she] will pass a reading test. I've heard every excuse in the book why not to measure. But if you can't measure, how do you know? ... We can't be risk-adverse when it comes to making sure every child learns to read."

President George W. Bush in his remarks on Reading First and No Child Left Behind at the National Institutes of Health, May 12, 2004.

Over the summer break, the U.S. Department of Education brought together some of the nation's most effective teachers and education experts to share with their colleagues strategies for successful teaching and learning. At seven regional locations, educators from across the country assembled for the Department's Teacher-to-Teacher Summer Workshops, which highlighted the latest effective practices for raising student achievement, making data-driven decisions and working with special populations.

The workshops are part of the Department's efforts to provide support to teachers in fulfilling the mission of No Child Left Behind. "By giving teachers the tools they need to achieve at their best," said U.S. Secretary of Education Rod Paige, "we can help every student achieve at his or her best as well."

The workshops provided an array of training sessions, including Data and Graphing, Developing Computational Fluency in Addition and Subtraction, Reading Strategies for Special-Needs Students and Federal Resources. Over 1,400 participants attended the workshops in Denver, Colo., Portland, Ore., Pittsburgh, Pa., Orlando, Fla., Anaheim, Calif., St. Louis, Mo., and Boston, Mass.

Hoping to extend its reach in the future, the Education Department expects teacher participants to return to their school districts and share what they have learned. "Teachers work so hard and they are so anxious to make sure they are doing it right. These summits bring together the best of the best," praised one workshop participant. "I hope you will not only repeat, but expand, your offerings to many more teachers."

To complement the summer workshops, the Department also welcomed more than 150 teachers to a Research-to-Practice Summit July 19-20, at its headquarters in Washington, D.C. (See p. 2.)

The summit is part of the Bush administration's Teacher-to-Teacher initiative to support America's teachers, which also includes the seven regional workshops, roundtable discussions, a teacher toolkit and weekly e-mail updates.

Ten of the best sessions from the workshops and summit will be available later this fall via the Internet and satellite television. For more information, visit or call 1-800-USA-LEARN.


On the Horizon

Did You Know?
School districts receiving funds through the Improving Teacher Quality State Grants program under No Child Left Behind must consult their teaching staff to determine how to spend professional development dollars. Funding for the grants program, which has increased by 39 percent since 2001, is the largest federal investment ever in teachers.

September 21
8:00-9:00 p.m. E.T.

Education News Parents Can Use will resume its monthly broadcast with the program "Back to School: Ready to Read, Ready to Succeed." Visit or call 1-800-USA-LEARN for details.

October 14
Lights On Afterschool! nationwide celebration. Call 202-347-1002 or visit for information on hosting local events.

October 19
Miami, Fla.

White House Faith-Based and Community Initiatives Conference. Registration deadline is October 5. Visit or call 202-456-6718 for details.


New Guide!
Implementing Supplemental Educational Services

Under No Child Left Behind, if a school served by Title I does not meet its academic achievement targets for three years, the school district must offer supplemental educational services to students from low-income families. Now, parents of these students who have been unable to afford the extra academic help their children need can select among supplemental educational services programs approved by the state.

To assist school districts with implementing these services, the U.S. Department of Education recently released the guide Creating Strong Supplemental Educational Services Programs. Published by the Department's Office of Innovation and Improvement, the guide shares practical advice and concrete examples from five school districts whose experiences yield some common lessons that might be helpful to others working on supplemental educational services.

Among its successes, Toledo Public Schools stepped up its outreach campaign to eligible parents, which led to the enrollment of more than 500 students in supplemental educational services, compared to 96 the previous year. The other districts highlighted in the publication are Forsyth County Schools, Georgia; Los Angeles Unified School District, California; Rochester City School District, New York; and San Diego City Schools, California.

The 61-page publication includes samples of an announcement flier, enrollment form, parent survey and progress report from the school districts. Included also are appendices showing each district's demographics, the report's methodology for collecting data, and additional resources for implementing supplemental educational services.

Creating Strong Supplemental Educational Services Programs is available online at For a paper copy, contact the Department's publications center at 1-877-4ED-PUBS.



The Achiever is published semi-monthly during the school year for parents and community leaders by the Office of Intergovernmental and Interagency Affairs, U.S. Department of Education (ED). Rod Paige, Secretary.

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Photo of President Bush and the quote "When it comes of the education of our children...failure is not an option."--President George W. Bush


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Last Modified: 11/07/2006