Wrightslaw No Child Left Behind - Book Review
By: Peter W. D. Wright, Esq., Pamela Darr Wright and Suzanne Whitney Heath
Hartfield, VA: Harbor House Law Press Inc.: 2003, 2004
Reviewed by: Lon Woodbury
The landmark education legislation commonly termed the NO CHILD LEFT BEHIND ACT, was signed into law by President Bush in January 2002 and has gained a lot of controversy as the states move to implement its provisions. Essentially, it is one of the most sweeping Federal initiatives into the field of education in the history of this country. In the past, education has primarily been the domain of the states, with federal initiatives being mostly supplemental. Some of the critics of this act are asserting the No Child Left Behind Act changes all that, making the federal government a major player in the education field, more than it ever has been in the past. This book is probably the most useful attempt to explain this law, how it came into being, and exactly what it tries to do in one volume of understandable text.
Essentially, in 1965 Congress passed the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965. This book explains that in 2001, “Congress added benchmarks, measurements and sanctions to the Elementary and Secondary Education Act and called it The No Child Left Behind Act.” The main purposes were to require evaluations if a school is progressing toward a goal of all children receiving an adequate education, testing to determine if children are making required progress, and recourses for parents if their child is in a school that provides inadequate services.
This is a manual for parents and all professionals involved with children’s education regarding what the law is really about, and itemizing the rights and responsibilities of all interested parties. It not only includes the full text of the law, but explanations of the process that will allow the evolution of this law through interpretations and case law. The book is designed to be a reference manual, making it as easy as possible for the reader to find exactly the aspect he/she might be looking for, whether an overview of part of it, or specific parts.
For example, Chapter 5 is titled – NCLB for Parents. The Chapter is then divided into sub-headings with further explanations of: How Will No Child Left Behind Affect Parents? Annual Proficiency Testing, Adequate Yearly Progress, School and District Report Cards, Teaching Children to Read; Highly Qualified Teachers; Parent’s Right-to-Know; and To Parents of Children with Special Educational Needs. Each Chapter is then summarized in a brief paragraph at the end of the chapter, along with resources for more detail and explanation.
When anyone needs to learn about this law, this book is probably the best place to start.