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Education Notebook on Education

August 24, 2004

August 24, 2004 | Education Notebook on Education

State of the States on the No Child Left Behind Act

State of the States on the No Child Left Behind Act

August 24, 2004

What's really going on with the No Child Left Behind Act?

As states compile their lists of schools meeting or not meeting Adequate Yearly Progress standards and as parents ready themselves to make decisions concerning public school choice or tutoring services for their children, the Education Commission of the States (ECS) has released a report outlining how well states are implementing NCLB.


According to the report, ECS Report to the Nation: State Implementation of the No Child Left Behind Act, all 50 states have met or are "partially on track" to meeting 20 of the 40 requirements of NCLB.


The ECS found that states made significant gains in implementation from March 2003 to March 2004. In fact, 48 states met or were on track to meeting 75 percent of NCLB's requirements, and five states - Connecticut, Kentucky, New York, Oklahoma, and Pennsylvania - had achieved or partially met all 40 NCLB requirements.


Progress, however, is uneven. Highlights from the seven policy areas - report cards, public school choice, supplemental services, safe schools, standards and assessments, adequate yearly progress and teacher quality - are as follows:


  • Report Cards: 19 states are on track to provide school report cards with information on schools' achievement rates, graduation rates, teacher qualifications, and other indicators. All but one of the rest were partially on track.
  • Public School Choice: Slightly more than half of the states are on track to make timely identification of schools and ensure that districts notify parents of this status quickly. Thirty-four states are on track to provide students in these schools with the option to transfer to a better school.
  • Supplemental Services: 31 states are on track to ensure that students in poor performing schools have access to supplemental education services such as tutoring. Forty-eight states are on track to have criteria for supplemental services, and 45 are on track to have a list of approved providers.
  • Safe Schools: Almost all states are on track to set criteria to identify unsafe schools and transfer policies for victims of violent crimes and students in unsafe schools.
  • Standards and Assessments: 40 states are on track to establish reading standards, 38 are on track for math standards and 48 are on track for science standards. The rest are partially on track to create them. Over half are on track to make annual assessments in these areas.
  • Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP): Most states are on track to establish statewide accountability systems that include all public schools and all public school students. All but two states are at least partially on track measure adequate yearly progress every year.
  • Teacher Quality: All but one state is on track or partially on track to define what makes a "highly qualified teacher." Eleven are on track to establish systems to test teachers' subject matter competency. Most are on track to establish a test for new elementary teachers. No state appeared to be on track to establish annual goals for districts to increase the percentage of highly qualified teachers, so that all teachers would be highly qualified by the end of 2006.

The Education Commission of the States (ECS) is a nonpartisan organization established in 1965 to provide state leaders "identify, develop and implement public policies to improve student learning at all levels." The report can be accessed at

The ECS has also created an NCLB database that presents information on state progress complete with links to helpful web pages from state departments of education available at

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