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The State of No Child Left Behind’s Progress February 29, 2008

Posted by Daniel Downs in demographics, education, law, legislation, news, No Child Left Behind (NCLB), politics, research, welfare state.

The ambitious goal of Capitol Hill is to close the learning gap, eliminate dropouts, produce Americans with knowledge and skills enabling them to compete in a global high tech economy, and ensure all students achieve proficiency in key subjects like reading, science, and math. These are the same goals the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) promised to achieve beginning in 1965.

The ESEA was built on a prior tax enhancement program for schools where federal facilities lowered taxes revenues. ESEA expanded that federal aid program to include a number new enhancement programs (breakfast, special education, etc.) to help student from poor families.

The latest version of ESEA is No Child Left Behind (NCLB). This version attaches student and teacher achievement goals to program funding. The goals to be achieved are still those mentioned above. Under Pres. Bush, the bar of accountability was raised rankling many professional educators and educational associations.

The purpose of the charts and graphs that follow is to give us an idea of how NCLB is doing. The first chart presents the total number schools in the United States, how many schools are meeting yearly goals, how many need improvement, and how many must be closed or restructured. The latter schools have failed to achieve year goals more than 3 years.

  United States
Number of Schools 98,905
Schools Making Adequate Yearly Progress 64,546 (70%)
Schools in Need of Improvement 10,676 (11%)
Schools in Need of Improvement—Restructuring Phase 2,302 (2%)
Source: Consolidated State Performance Report, 2006-07 & NCES CCD, 2005-06

The following graphs depict the percent of classes taught by teachers with degrees in their respective teaching field or fields and appropriate certification. Consistent with the goal of giving all students a quality education, the graphs show that no less than 90% of all classes in participating schools have highly qualified teachers.

Source: Consolidated State Performance Reports, 2006-07

The next two charts reveal the progress being made by America’s 4th and 8th graders in both reading and math knowledge and skills. Achievement is categorized by average test scores of all students, by race, and income and by basic and proficiency level of achievement. One important note: Basic level of achievement is comparable to many state proficiency score on similar tests, which means proficiency of federal test is comparable to high achievement on similar state tests.

  % of 4th Graders Basic % of 4th Graders Proficient % of 8th Graders Basic % of 8th Graders Proficient
All 66% 32% 73% 29%
White 77% 42% 83% 38%
Black 46% 14% 54% 12%
Hispanic 49% 17% 57% 14%
Low Income 50% 17% 58% 15%

Math % of 4th Graders Basic % of 4th Graders Proficient % of 8th Graders Basic % of 8th Graders Proficient
All 81% 39% 66% 32%
White 91% 51% 77% 42%
Black 63% 15% 46% 14%
Hispanic 69% 22% 49% 17%
Low Income 70% 22% 50% 17%
Source: 2007 National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) Data

The next two graphs are a little dated but they give us an idea of the how effective NCLB has been. What do expect from the U.S. Department of Education that is still seeking Congressional renewal of its program? Anyway, the first one was created by Jay Green of the Manhattan Institute in 2005. His graph shows national the national average freshman graduation rate (AFGR) was 71 percent in 2002. The second graph was created by National Center for Education Statistics. It shows the AFGR for 2004 was 75 percent. These two graphs demonstrate that progress is being made toward reducing the achievement gap the dropout rate.

Source: Manhattan Institute, Jay Greene, 2005

Source: NCES

I still believe ESEA-NCLB is unconstitutional. It is still a power grab of the federal government. I still see the federal role in education as one of facilitation, collaboration, and dissemination of information–the Dept. of Education’s original purpose–and not welfare-based control and program determination of local education.

(Note: When high school achievement data becomes available, I will update this post.)

For more information about NCLB progress, go here.



1. Bert D - March 3, 2008

ESEA expanded that federal aid program to include a number new enhancement programs (breakfast, special education, etc.) to help student from poor families.

Actually, the U.S. Department of Education’s ESEA has nothing to do with the national school lunch (and breakfast) program. The lunch program is run by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

2. The State of No Child Left Behind’s Progress | No Child Left Behind - March 3, 2008

[…] Read the original: The State of No Child Left Behind’s Progress […]

3. Daniel Downs - March 3, 2008

Bert, you are right. ESEA eligibility is based on student on or eligibility for breakfast and lunch programs.

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