Today, President Bush Met With Bicameral And Bipartisan Members Of Congress On The Fifth Anniversary Of The No Child Left Behind Act. In 2001, President Bush worked with Republicans and Democrats to pass the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB), and he was proud to sign it into law in 2002. The reauthorization of NCLB is one of the President's top priorities – and an area where he believes both parties can work together to improve our children's lives and enhance American competitiveness.
The No Child Left Behind Act Is Based On The Belief That Every Child Can Learn, And Every School Must Teach. The President has said repeatedly that there must be no compromise on NCLB's basic principles: every student must read and do math at grade level or above by 2014. We must have higher expectations and demand greater accountability for every student using annual assessments and disaggregated data. States must continue to set standards and devise the tests. Reauthorizing NCLB is critical – if we were to lower standards and roll back accountability now, we would be leaving children to the status quo that failed them for decades.
The No Child Left Behind Act Is Showing Good Results
States Are Successfully Implementing No Child Left Behind. As of 2006, for the first time all 50 States and the District of Columbia have accountability plans in place as well as reading/language arts and mathematics assessments for grades 3-8, plus one assessment in high school. The percentage of classes taught by a highly qualified teacher has risen to 91 percent. In addition, nearly 450,000 eligible students have received free supplemental educational services or public school choice.
Student Achievement Is Rising. Between 2003 and 2005, 43 States and the District of Columbia improved or held steady in all categories of students tested in reading and math. In addition:
More reading progress was made by 9-year-olds in the five years ending in 2004 than in the previous 28 years combined.
Reading and math scores for 9-year-olds and fourth-graders have reached all-time highs.
Between 2003 and 2005, an additional 235,000 fourth-graders learned fundamental math skills.
Test Results Show The Achievement Gap Is Closing. According to the Nation's Report Card, from 1999 to 2004:
The gap between African-American and white 9-year-olds in reading narrowed by 9 points, to an all-time low.
The gap between African-American and white 9-year-olds in math narrowed by 5 points, to an all-time low.
The gap between Hispanic and white 9-year-olds in reading narrowed by 7 points, to an all-time low.
The gap between Hispanic and white 9-year-olds in math narrowed by 8 points, to an all-time low.
We Must Continue To Build On No Child Left Behind's Progress. The President called on the Committee leaders to strengthen NCLB by:
Helping teachers close the achievement gap through incentives for effective teachers and for those who teach in the neediest schools;
Strengthening our public schools and empowering parents with incentives for school reform and options for students to attend high-performing schools and receive after-school tutoring; and
Measuring individual student progress to focus interventions on students who have not reached grade level.