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No Child Left Behind Act NCBL

No Child Left Behind Act NCBL

The No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) of 2001 was developed to reduce the inequalities in the education system. This act was an extension of the Federal government’s effort to improve the education system and The Improving America’s Schools Act of 1994 (O’Toole & Christensen, 2012). The main purpose of this policy was to improve reading and math achievement for all children. The act aimed to close the achievement gap between races, ethnicities, socio-economic classes, disability status, and levels of English proficiency. The act’s main component is allowing states to develop their own assessments that are designed according to the population of children in the state and defining an Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) to demonstrate improvement in children’s proficiency every year. Most importantly, the successful implementation of the NCLB Act requires intergovernmental relations with federal government involvement in the state and local education policies.

NCLB set out some requirements that were to be implemented by state and district governments to improve students’ proficiency. Through the Department of Education, the federal government is able to make the states, school districts, and individual schools accountable for improving students’ achievements. The government uses sanctions and oversight to ensure that the schools, state, and local governments make an effort to reduce the proficiency gaps for disadvantaged children. The states, school districts, and schools also play a role by developing their individual assessments that consider the disadvantages of some of the children. They are required to meet the AYP. For failure to meet the AYP for two years, they are required to develop an improvement plan for enhancing the students’ proficiency. Therefore, this policy has enhanced intergovernmental collaboration to enhance student proficiency all over the country.

Nonetheless, several challenges were caused by the involvement of the federal government in the education policies and practices of the local and state governments. One of the basic criticisms of the policy is that it violates the state and local governments’ rights by allowing the federal government’s intrusion into their policy creation and implementation. Instead of being received as an intergovernmental effort to improve education, it has been criticized as a violation of the balance between federalism and state independence. Another major criticism of this law has been its funding. President Bush’s administration was criticized for not providing adequate funds to the state and local governments to successfully implement the policy (O’Toole & Christensen, 2012). The implementation of NCLB was also criticized for its poor leadership. The execution of this policy has been criticized for poor management and lacking some essential components like adequate training for teachers. Poor leadership sets up the policy for failure regardless of how good its intentions are (Guilfoyle, 2006). Some states have also resorted to lowering their assessment standards to increase the chances of passing rates (O’Toole & Christensen, 2012). This eliminates the main aim of the policy, which is to improve proficiency.

Generally, NCLB is exemplary of the challenges involved in the implementation of intergovernmental policies. The development and execution of laws that require the collaboration of federal, state, and local governments are challenging and require adequate strategizing and leadership for success.


Guilfoyle, C. (2006). NCLB: Is there life beyond testing? Educational Leadership, 64(3), 8.

O’Toole, L. J., & Christensen, R. K. (2012). American intergovernmental relations: Foundations, perspectives, and issues. Cq Press.


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No Child Left Behind Act NCBL

Describe the implications for intergovernmental relations to develop and execute the sometimes popular and sometimes controversial No Child Left Behind Act as presented in Case Study 2 (pages 114-121).

No Child Left Behind Act NCBL

No Child Left Behind Act NCBL

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