It’s been a few years now that President Bush signed the sweeping “No Child Left Behind” education bill into law, and most states have rolled out ambitious testing programs, improving teacher quality, developing excruciatingly detailed report cards — and struggling to make it all work.
Only 22 states are currently on track to comply with even half of the major federal requirements, according to a report scheduled for release today by the independent Education Commission of the States. Though states have a few years to meet some of the requirements, many were already due.
In the first detailed look at how all 50 states and the District of Columbia are grappling with the complex law, ECS found that many have a long way to go. The core of the law is a 12-year plan to improve the basic skills of the nation’s 52 million public school students. States faced an important deadline last Friday when they had to tell the federal government how they’ll integrate No Child Left Behind into their testing systems. Those that fail to comply with the law ultimately risk losing federal money for their schools.
U.S. Education Department spokesman Dan Langan says states “are indeed making progress” and are probably further along than the ECS findings suggest. “What you see today may not be the same tomorrow, because of a change in a state policy or program.”