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What is the No Child Left Behind Act?

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Quick Answer

The No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 is the primary federal law authorizing government spending on programs supporting education from kindergarten through grade 12. It is the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965, which represents the country's most substantial source of funding for elementary and secondary school education, according to the New America Foundation's Federal Education Budget Project.

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NCLB authorized 45 educational programs and provided $25.7 billion to states in fiscal year 2014, notes the New America Foundation. When the law was reauthorized, it included changes to the way states qualified for funding. NCLB put in place a system of student testing and assessment and required schools to demonstrate accountability and measurable educational improvement. Under NCLB, states are required to test students in reading, math and science through grade 12. Individual schools, school districts and each state must make test results available to the public. The testing information must be presented in the aggregate and for specific student subgroups, including low-income students, students with disabilities and English-language learners.

According to New America Foundation's Federal Education Budget Project, one of the biggest programs under NCLB is the Title I program. This program provides funds to school districts to improve the educational services delivered to disadvantaged students. It provides funding for tutoring and other educational-support services.

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