External Author Name: 
Liam Julian

Institute of Education Sciences
U.S. Department of Education
February 2006

When Congress passed the No Child Left Behind Act, it also required production of a National Assessment of Title I that would evaluate both the implementation and results of the program's major provisions. This is the first volume of the interim report (a final report is due out in 2007), and it focuses on implementation. Within it, key Title I components-such as those related to state assessments, school choice and supplemental educational services, achievement scores, and teacher quality-are closely examined. Some results are shameful. For example, a whopping 49 percent of districts notified parents about their children's supplemental services and school choice options after the school year had already begun. On average, notification occurred five weeks following the first day of classes. This is unacceptable, and it helps explain why only 38,000 students (out of an eligible 3.9 million) took advantage of school transfers in 2003-2004. Some in Congress noticed this massive failure, and they've sounded the alarm. The new chairman of the House Education & the Workforce Committee, Howard "Buck" McKeon (R-CA), said, "I'm particularly concerned that parents are not being informed quickly enough if their child's school is not making adequate yearly progress. In fact, this late notification seems to be impacting a parent's ability to take advantage of school choice and supplemental educational services options under the law." Indeed it is. Another disturbing item showed that, when parents and students are alerted about their eligibility for free tutoring, they often have little information to help them choose among providers (see here). Nor can they be confident that the tutors have any sort of "good housekeeping" seal of approval. According to the report, "as of early 2005, 15 states had not established any monitoring process [of tutoring providers], 25 states had not yet established any standards for evaluating provider effectiveness, and none had finalized their evaluation standards." Of course, there were some bright spots. From 2000 to 2005 on the National Assessment of Educational Progress, black fourth graders gained 10 points in reading and 17 points in math. Hispanic fourth graders gained 13 points in reading and 18 points in math. Youngsters are responding to the reforms of No Child Left Behind. Imagine what the numbers could be like if the law was actually implemented faithfully. The report is available here.

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