No Child Left Behind
The No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 (NCLB) reauthorized the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) -- the main federal law affecting education from kindergarten through high school was signed into law on January 8, 2002 by President Bush. It is currently undergoing reauthorization.
4 Principles of the No Child Left Behind Act
- Accountability for results
- Mote choices for parents
- Greater local control and flexibility
- Emphasis on doing what works based on scientific research
Primary Goals of the No Child Left Behind Act
- All students will be instructed by highly qualified teachers by 2005-06.
- All students will attain proficiency in reading/language arts and mathematics by 2013-2014.
- All English learners will become proficient in English.
- All students will learn in schools that are safe and drug free.
- All students will graduate from high school.
The No Child Left behind Act is a general education law. Occupational therapists primarily work under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act. However, they are affected by NCLB because of its impact on the entire school district and every student. AOTA is advocating the role of the OT in NCLB to facilitate high stakes testing performance through environmental modifications and testing modifications. NCLB is undergoing reauthorization and AOTA is hoping to take advantage of this opportunity to expand the use and visibility of occupational therapy. The September 24, 2007 issue of OT Practice has an article written by Ashley Opp titled Reauthorizing No Child Left Behind: Opportunities for OT that provides a good explanation of NCLB and the potential role for occupational therapy.
While NCLB is a general education law, it is interesting to note that changes made in IDEA 04 move toward aligning IDEA with the No Child Left Behind Law (NCLB) [P.L. 107-110] by raising expectations for students with special education needs and holding teachers and school districts to higher levels of accountability. Requirements for mandated assessments to determine student outcomes, requiring outcomes based on high academic standards and improving the progress of students in special education in the general education curriculum are ways in which this alignment is occurring.
AOTA has a document titled AOTA’s Principles for Reauthorizations of the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) which can be accessed at www.aota.com. Some of the principles outlined in this document include: Alignment of NCLB with IDEA, use of positive supportive models of behavioral and academic interventions, such as Positive Behavioral Supports and Response to Intervention, ensuring availability and access to social and mental health services, and inclusion of principals of Universal Design for Learning.