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No Child Left Behind


Definition: The No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB), signed into U.S. law in 2002, seeks to increase accountability for student performance in public schools. Schools whose students don't demonstrate mastery on standardized tests may face certain penalties, and if they don't improve, parents may transfer their students to other schools. In terms of special education, NCLB has increased qualifications for teachers and paraprofessionals, specified that special education curricula should be brought closer to the mainstream, and increased the school's responsibility to show that these students are making progress. That's good, if it means that the teacher instructing your child in a particular subject is really trained to teach it, and if your child is now having progress documented in a serious way -- and bad, if the methods being used for that documentation are not appropriate for your child, and special education students are being scapegoated for the failure of their schools to reach mandated standards.

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