The federal No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) is a 2002 reauthorization of the U.S. Government's Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA). It increased federal pressure on states to pursue a standards-based reform agenda for public schools.
NCLB provides block grants to states for innovative education programs, accompanied by sweeping requirements for states to demonstrate by 2013-14 that all students meet their state's definition of academically "proficient."
The law is organized into 10 sections called "titles." Each title establishes the requirements of a program or set of programs. In California, funds from NCLB's programs are generally channeled through the California Department of Education to districts and schools. California receives about $3 billion in NCLB program funding each year, with Title I grants to local education agencies representing about two-thirds of that amount. (This does not include new funding from the 2009 Federal Stimulus Package.)
Title I: Extra support for students who live in poverty. Along with basic grants to local education agencies, Title I also includes the Reading First, Early Reading First, Even Start, and Comprehensive School Reform programs. A large portion of Title I funding is aimed at schools serving students living in poverty. However, funding under other titles is not necessarily based on income criteria.
Title II: Preparing, training, and recruiting high quality teachers and principals. This title provides funds to school districts to improve training and professional development, hire new educators, and retain highly qualified ones.
Title III: Language instruction for limited English proficient (LEP) and immigrant students. This state-administered grant program provides funding to districts based on the number of LEP and immigrant students they serve. It includes specific assessment and parent notification requirements.
Title IV: 21st century schools. This title provides grants for out-of-school programs aimed at keeping students safe and supporting academic achievement.
Title V: Promoting informed parental choice and innovative programs. This title provides federal grant support for Innovative Programs (Part A) and Public Charter Schools (Part B). It also includes an incentive program to help charter schools meet their facility needs.
Title VI: Flexibility and accountability. Part A of Title VI provides funds for states to improve the quality, validity, and reliability of their testing systems. Title VI also includes a demonstration project that provides an opportunity to experiment with and evaluate additional flexibility in the use of federal funds. Part B provides extra grant funds and flexibility in the use of federal funds to school districts that are located in rural areas and serve fewer than 600 students.
Additional elements of NCLB include:
- Title VII: Indian, Native Hawaiian, and Alaska Native Education
- Title VIII: Impact Aid
- Title IX: General provisions
- Title X: Repeals, Redesignations, and Amendments to other statutes.