No Child Left Behind

The No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 (NCLB) is among our nation’s most critical federal civil rights measures. NCLB was signed into law on January 8, 2002 and reauthorized a number of federal programs aimed at improving the performance of U.S. primary and secondary schools. It helps promote equity in U.S. public education by holding schools, school districts, and states accountable for the academic achievement of all students, including English language learners (ELLs).

MALDEF believes that while the goals and principles of NCLB are sound, implementation of the law has been inadequate in many respects. Although NCLB promises ELLs a measure of academic parity with their peers and is meant to address the effects of limited English proficiency upon academic performance, ELLs’ academic performance levels are still significantly below those of their peers in nearly every measure of academic performance.

Significant implementation failures and underfunding by federal and state agencies have severely hindered the effectiveness of NCLB for ELLs. MALDEF believes that for NCLB to reduce or eliminate academic gaps, officials at all levels of government – federal, state, and local – must commit to better serving the ELL student population.

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Copyright 2009 MALDEF — Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund