The No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB), the most recent authorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), is the principal federal law affecting education from Kindergarten through high school. The law was passed in January 2002 with the main goal of helping all students reach proficiency in English language, arts/reading, and mathematics by the year 2014. It also requires districts to provide information and notices to parents about their children's school, academic progress, teachers, and more.
At one time NCLB provided useful feedback on district and school performance - particularly through its focus on disaggregating data for student groups. However the rising number of districts and schools judged inadequate under NCLB, in Arkansas and across the nation, led the U.S. Department of Education (ED) in September 2011 to invite states to seek a waiver of specific requirements of NCLB. In exchange for this flexibility, states must propose rigorous and comprehensive state-developed plans designed to improve educational outcomes for all students, close achievement gaps, increase equity, and improve the quality of instruction.
The U.S. Department of Education has invited each State educational agency (SEA) to request flexibility on behalf of itself, its local educational agencies, and schools, in order to better focus on improving student learning and increasing the quality of instruction. This voluntary opportunity will provide educators and State and local leaders with flexibility regarding specific requirements of the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 (NCLB) in exchange for rigorous and comprehensive State-developed plans designed to improve educational outcomes for all students, close achievement gaps, increase equity, and improve the quality of instruction.
For more information on ESEA Flexibility, click here.
For Questions and Answers on Arkansas's ESEA Flexibility Request, click here.