July 24, 2003, Extra Credit
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July 24, 2003
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Helping Parents Understand No Child Left Behind
Quoting parent and Franklin Special School District School Board Chairman John Schroer saying, "If you ask 90% of parents, they'd say 'Yeah, I've heard about (the law), but I don't know how it applies to me,'" a recent article in The Tennessean, "Federal law to aid parents' knowledge," answers many of the common questions about No Child Left Behind. Following are excerpts from the article, a link to the full text, and a link to an online version of the U.S. Department of Education's publication, "No Child Left Behind: A Parents Guide."

On Assessing Achievement: "'It's a protection and a guarantee for all children,' [Connie Smith, executive director of accountability for the state Department of Education] said. 'The biggest impact will be on previously neglected kids that were hidden in the mainstream groups.'"

On Reporting Results: "Parents still can turn to state report cards for a breakdown of school test results, demographics, discipline problems, attendance and promotion. But the revised report cards, which are expected by Nov. 1, also will report scores for subgroups such as special education and the economically disadvantaged. Other new categories include school safety statistics and professional qualifications of teachers in the state."

On Getting Extra Help: "Local school systems must offer parents more options for students in low-performing schools. ... The new law requires districts to notify parents about the status of their child's school and what their options are. They must also explain to parents how they can become involved in improvement efforts."

On Teacher Quality: "Parents soon will be told more about the quality of teachers in their children's classroom. ... [Teachers] can already show their proficiency by passing a state exam, earning a national certification or completing an academic major, graduate degree or comparable coursework in the subject they teach. The state is considering options that would allow teachers to submit a portfolio of accomplishments or use student achievement scores to meet the requirement."

On School Safety: "Parents will be able to pull students out of school if they are the victim of a violent crime or that school has been labeled 'persistently dangerous.' In Tennessee, that is defined as any school where the total number of dangerous incidents plus the number of student victims exceeds 3% of the school's enrollment for three straight years."

The U.S. Department of Education's publication "No Child Left Behind: A Parents Guide" is available at:


About Extra Credit
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.

If you would like the NCLB Extra Credit emailed to you, please send a request to Geoff Goodman at or call (202) 205-9191.


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Last Modified: 01/29/2008