The Federal No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Act has had significant impact on local school districts across the nation by establishing strong accountability requirements for improving the academic performance of each student.  The law requires states to establish proficiency levels to be achieved by 2014 for each student in math and reading/language arts and ultimately in science.  Additionally, the law requires students to be assessed annually in grades 3-8 and high school against state-determined targets, and establishes sanctions for schools and school districts receiving federal Title I funds that fail to meet annual performance targets.  Such continued failure ultimately could result in the reconstitution of schools.  Data must be collected on each student and reported annually on each major group/ subgroup - on the basis of race, ethnicity, English proficiency, economic status and disability.

The legislation creates an expectation that American education will make dramatic strides in advancing the education of all of the nation's 50 million public school children.  To make the necessary changes in our nation's vast system of public education will require an investment of funds. 

CABE fully supports the goals of the law to ensure that every student achieves the academic proficiency standards established by the states and to encourage states to reassess and strengthen their role in improving the quality of educational services available to K-12 public school students.

However, the Act fails to acknowledge the effective accountability system already in place in states such as Connecticut, and contains some requirements that are unworkable and inconsistent with effective state efforts to raise student achievement.

CABE urges the Federal government to modify the No Child Left Behind Act and to focus on supporting comprehensive education reform including:

  • Providing resources to insure that all needy children receive an appropriate pre-school experience
  • Support efforts to attract and retain high quality teachers
  • Support state efforts to ensure that what is taught and what is tested are important, reasonable and challenging to every student
  • Provide funding for the development of research based instruction in all areas of the curriculum
  • Support efforts to focus on the social, emotional, physical and mental health of students and to improve student ethical achievement.

It is estimated to cost Connecticut $40 million to implement this federal mandate, in addition to the federal funds allocated to Connecticut.

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