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No Child Left Behind in a "Nutshell"
In January of 2002, President Bush created the "No Child Left Behind Act."
This act was written by the House Committee on Education and supported
by Senator Edward Kennedy in an unusual bipartisan arrangement.
goal of NCLB is to have 100% of all students achieve at grade level by
the year 2014. Although all schools are subject to NCLB, only schools
receiving Title I federal funds are subject to punishment.
are to set proficiency levels on reading and math tests in order to
determine students' grade level performance. Every year, these levels
will increase so that all students -including special education and
students who are learning the English language (LEP)- perform at grade
level. All states must begin testing students in science in the school
every school must demonstrate that they are meeting state goals for
grade-level work. This is called "Annual Yearly Progress" (AYP).
Schools must meet AYP for all groups of students. If the number of
students in a specific group is at least 40 students AND are at least 5% of the testing population
OR the number of subgroup members is 200 or more, they must meet AYP as
a group. If a Title I schools falls short of AYP for two years in a
row, they must give parents the option to transfer their children
elsewhere in the district. After three years, the school must pay for
supplemental educational services. After four years, they are at risk
of restructuring, state takeover, or management by private firrms.
must also be "highly qualified." This means they must have at least a
bachelor's degree, be fully licensed, and demonstrate competence in the
subjects they teach. They must also participate in ongoing professional
development. Title 1 schools must also notify parents if they are being
taught by a teacher who is not "highly qualified." Now
paraprofessionals have to have at least two years of college or an
associate's degree or demonstration the ability to assist with reading,
writing, and mathematics.
pressure from educators, the US Department of Education is allowing
some flexibility with special education students who have severe
cognitive disabilities. Thy are now allowing districts to give an
alternative assessment to "slightly" more than 1% of the students. If
they are giving over 1% of their students an alternative assessment,
they must apply for a waiver from their state department of education.
many school districts are firing teachers and administrators if their
school doesn't meet AYP. In some cases, financial incentives are given
to school employees who are in schools that excel with standardized
What This Means For Art Teachers
As an art
teacher, you must be "highly qualified" and demonstrate competency in
the arts. One advantage to this is that states must hire art teachers
who are certified. The disadvantage is that many districts are cutting
the arts in order to put all their money on students who are struggling
with standardized tests.
challenge is for art teachers to demonstrate that the arts are still an
important part of the educational process. Art teachers are also able
to integrate standards into their curriclum. For example, writing
standards can be incorporated by giving students an assignment to write
a short story and illustrate it.
teachers who are threatened with the reduction or removal of their art
program, this will involve advocating for the arts. The Incredible Art
Department (IAD) has several arts advocacy links to assist you in
fighting the urge for districts to follow this path.
Arts Advocacy- IAD
Arts Advocacy- ArtLex
of the Arts on Learning (pdf)
Arts Advocacy- California Arts Council
Arts Advocacy Checklist- NASAA
Learning Through the Arts
Arts Education Partnership- Critical Links
hearing about art programs that were endangered while traveling the
country, form Education Superintendent Rod Paige said in a policy
letter, "As I travel the country, I often hear that arts education
programs are endangered because of No Child Left Behind. This message
was echoed in a recent series of teacher roundtables sponsored by the
Department of Education. It is both disturbing and just plain wrong."
"It's disturbing not just because arts programs are being diminished or
eliminated, but because NCLB is being interpreted so narrowly as to be
considered the reason for these actions. The truth is that NCLB
included the arts as a core academic subject because of their
importance to a child's education. No Child Left Behind expects
teachers of the arts to be highly qualified, just as it does teachers
of English, math, science, and history." -Letter to Superintendents, July, 2004
this has helped, there isn't any teeth behind his comments. Some
districts are reducing the amount of time spent on the arts in favor of
remediation. This is a natural consequence of high stakes testing.
There have been studies about the status of the arts and their effectiveness with assessments. The National Center for Education Statistics has an Arts Report Card on assessment. There is a nice pdf document  by the Art Education Partnership that gives additional information for art teachers on the NCLB Act.
The Problem with NCLB
There has been some recent research done on high stakes testing. The Education Policy Studies Laboratory found that high-stakes testing has no impact on student achievement.
Although the government demands more of schools, they are paying them
less. The education community was not consulted with this legislation
and is reporting on many negative consequences of NCLB.
The gap between students of poverty has increased since the implementation of NCLB, according to Stephen Krashen, PhD of the University of Southern California,
Here are some of many links that speak of the horrors of NCLB:
NCLB Poses Special Problems for Special Education
Phi Delta Kappan NCLB Poll
Panel Discussion on NCLB
Can't Judge a Book by its Cover: NCLB
What's Wrong with NCLB
No Child Left.com
Milles to Go Before We Sleep
Missing the Mark
There is a way for you to submit your comments on NCLB. The Aspen Institute has a website for you to do this.
NCLB- A pdf document by McREL
NCLB.com- Helping Schools comply with NCLB
NCLB in Art
There are a lot of cartoons dealing with NCLB. Here are a few:
Report Card for NCLB
Teaching to the Test
No Child Left Behind
Collection of NCLB Cartoons
Collection of NCLB Cartoons