The No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Act has redefined the role of the federal government in U.S. education. It requires all states to set high standards for student achievement and to demonstrate progress toward their attainment; emphasizes research-based instructional methods; provides funding for professional development; and outlines sanctions for schools and districts that fail to meet established standards.
Because of its strong emphasis on reading, NCLB has a profound effect on IRA members across the United States. A survey of the membership reveals that U.S. educators hold strong—and often strongly discrepant—views about the legislation. However, most agree that research-based instructional methods will improve student achievement and that professional development is critical, and they disagree that sanctions are an effective means to educational improvement.
The survey explored IRA members’ response to NCLB in the areas of impact on students, educators, and the community; funding; curriculum; professional development; and assessment and requirements for demonstration of “adequate yearly progress.”