Source:  Arizona Education Association

No Child Left Behind through the years:

  • January 2002: President Bush signs the “No Child Left Behind Act” into law.
  • August 2002: USA Today finds 18 exemplary schools that won the coveted U.S. Department of Education Blue Ribbon but are also subject to federal punishment for failing to make “adequate yearly progress” (AYP).
  • September 2003: The Orleans Southwest district in Vermont decides not to apply for Title 1 money for secondary grades to avoid expensive punitive measures for a high school that didn’t make AYP. Two other districts follow suit, along with three in Connecticut.
  • Fall 2003: 31% of the nation’s schools fail to make AYP, according to President George W. Bush’s NCLB rules. They include 78% of the Florida schools rated “A” by his brother, then Gov. Jeb Bush.
  • December 2003: The Department of Education makes the first of several AYP rule changes, loosening the requirements a bit to make it easier for schools to pass.
  • January 2004: The Idaho Senate votes unanimously to ask Congress to change NCLB. Virginia’s House of Delegates votes 98-1 to ask Congress to exempt their state from the rules of NCLB. Time magazine says 20 states are rebelling against NCLB.
  • February 2004: U.S. Education Secretary Rod Paige calls NEA a “terrorist organization” because of its efforts to change NCLB.
  • Spring 2004: California Department of Education study predicts 99% of schools will fail to make AYP by 2014.
  • October 2004: NEA-led coalition of 27 education, civil rights, religious, and other organizations issues a proposal for fixing NCLB to help children learn.
  • School Year 2004-05: States are required to raise standards for AYP, making it harder for schools to pass.
  • Fall 2004: 24% of American schools fail to make AYP. In Florida, that includes 827 out of 1,262 schools awarded the coveted “A” rating by the state.
  • January 2005: The White House pays a popular television personality $240,000 to promote NCLB on his nationally syndicated television show.
  • February 2005: Texas Education Commissioner Shirley Neeley defies the federal rule requiring most special education students to meet the same standards on the same test as students with no disabilities, making Texas the first state to openly defy an NCLB mandate. Gov. Rick Perry backs her up.
  • April 2005: NEA, several state affiliates, and nine school districts go to court to stop federal authorities from forcing districts to spend their own money on NCLB requirements.
  • May 2005: Utah rebuffs federal threats and orders school officials to ignore NCLB when it conflicts with Utah’s own school accountability system.
  • June 2005: Two Illinois school districts pass up Title 1 funding rather than submit to NCLB sanctions. Massachusetts becomes the seventh state to project how many schools will fail AYP by 2014. The predictions range from 74 to 99%.
  • July 2005: The non-profit group Communities for Quality Education reports that leaders in 47 states have now called for NCLB changes.
  • August 2005: Virginia lawmakers demand more flexibility on NCLB. Connecticut goes to federal court to preserve its student assessment system, which use sophisticated tests every other year. Federal officials say the state should use cheaper, blunter tests and must test every year.
  • October 2005: Newly released reading and math scores from the National Assessment of Educational Progress – known as “The Nation’s Report Card”—show NCLB has failed to improve basic skills. Reading scores, flat for many years, remain flat. Math scores, rising for many years, are now rising more slowly.
  • Fall 2005: 26% of the nation’s schools are declared substandard by NCLB rules.
  • November 2005: NEA’s NCLB lawsuit is rejected by a federal judge. NEA announces it will appeal. NEA-led coalition to fix NCLB grows to 68 organizations.
  • December 2005: “If, indeed, the road to hell is paved with intentions, No Child Left Behind is educational asphalt,” says The Anniston Star in Alabama.
  • January 2006: NCLB hits primetime in an episode of “Boston Legal” when the Michael J. Fox character says, “We treat our teachers like crap…. And the government in their ‘No Child Left Behind’ law has created a monster.”
  • July 2006: NEA announces its Positive Agenda for ESEA Reauthorization.
  • August 2006: “I talk about No Child Left Behind like Ivory soap: It’s 99 percent pure or something,” Education Secretary Margaret Spellings tells reporters. “There’s not much needed in the way of change.”
  • January 2007: NEA-led coalition to fix NCLB grows to 100 organizations.
  • September 2007: NCLB expires or (more likely) is reauthorized with changes.
  • June 2014: According to NCLB, every child in America is “proficient.”

Visit the Arizona Education Association Website to learn more.


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