Tuesday, April 26, 2005


After a conversation with my daughter, a teacher-in-training, I checked out the current status of the No Child Left Behind act (NCLB). There have been some changes recently, including:
Secretary Spellings announced that the first example of this "workable, sensible approach" would be to apply the latest scientific research and allow states to use modified assessments for their students with persistent academic disabilities who need more time and instruction to make substantial progress toward grade-level achievement. These scores will be limited to 2 percent of all students for accountability purposes; this is a separate policy from the current regulation that allows up to 1 percent of all students being tested (those with the most significant cognitive disabilities) to take an alternate assessment.

Worried about an "unfunded mandate"? To help states implement these above changes,
Secretary Spellings also announced that she was directing an additional $14 million in immediate support for these students and that the Department would provide states with a comprehensive tool kit to help them identify and assess students with disabilities.

Yeah, but what about funding in general? Didn't the NCLB cause major expense for the states, without any additional money?
Federal resources have increased substantially during this period, including:

* An $8 billion, or 46 percent, increase for No Child Left Behind programs;
* A $10.3 billion increase in overall funding for federal elementary and secondary education programs;
* An increase of $4.6 billion, or 52 percent, for Title I Grants for economically disadvantaged students, which go directly to local education agencies—the key drivers of NCLB reforms; and
* A $4.8 billion, or 75 percent, increase for grants to states under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) Part B.

The president's budget provides nearly $1.5 billion for this High School Initiative, and includes $1.24 billion for a High School Intervention initiative that would focus on strengthening high school education and providing specific interventions. The president's high school program also includes $250 million to help states develop and implement new annual High School Assessments in reading/language arts and mathematics by the 2009-10 school year.

The graph below shows the increase in federal money, which includes an especially significant increase, compared to spending under President Clinton:

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