When I mention No Child Left Behind in a group of people many are quick to point out what a failure the program has been and how wasteful it is. Then, when I discuss the subject further, I find that most people know very little about No Child Left Behind but have formed strong negative opinions about it. As a result of this lack of information many parents are not taking full advantage of excellent services mandated by the law for their children.
My purpose in writing is to help parents understand the benefits of the law and how to best use it to help their children academically.
In 1965 Congress passed the Elementary and Secondary Education Act which covered many areas in our educational system and was designed to improve the quality of our children’s education.
One part of ESEA was called Title I, which supplied federal funds to schools having high concentrations of lower income and educationally disadvantaged children. Title I was designed to bring children’s reading and math skills up to grade level.
There were successes and difficulties with Title I, and the Bush administration proposed modifications to the act in 1999.
The new law was signed in 2002 and was called No Child Left Behind. NCLB made states and schools more accountable for the effectiveness of their programs.
Currently, under NCLB, states have to develop specific educational standards and implement annual assessments in order to receive federal educational funds. The assessments must show that a school’s performance against the standards has improved over the previous year. This performance requirement is called Adequate Yearly Progress. If a school does not meet Adequate Yearly Progress it is characterized as In Need of Improvement.
When a Vermont school is identified as In Need of Improvement for two years it must offer extra help to their children in reading, language arts, and math.
This extra help is called Supplemental Educational Services and takes the form of private tutoring or academic assistance after school or on weekends.
SES gives children the great opportunity of working one-on-one with an instructor rather than in a group of 20 to 30. Several times a week an instructor focuses on their particular needs and works at their pace of learning. There is significant data showing that private, one-on-one instruction is effective in improving students’ performance.
All students are eligible for SES in most identified schools; not just those who are low income or academically challenged. Identified schools must inform parents in writing that SES is available to their children and must include a list of state approved suppliers of SES.
The parent must then inform the school of their choice of supplier from the list in order to receive the services. There are no fees or charges to the parent. No Child Left Behind has a real benefit for Vermont children.
However, it is very important that parents understand there is a deadline for signing up for these services and that they contact their school as soon as possible.
If a parent has not received a notice and is not sure if their school is in need of improvement they should contact their school principal.
Approved SES Provider