The Federal Government passed the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) in 1965 to enable the federal government to finance public schools (Paige, 2004). This law was signed by President Johnson and has been revised every 5 years since then (Wisconsin Education Association Council, n.d.). ESEA started the provision of Title I funding, the federal money given to a school district to assist students who are falling behind academically (Public Schools of North Carolina, n.d.). President George W. Bush signed the ESEA, No Child Left Behind Act of 2001(NCLB) (P.L.107-110), on January 8, 2002 (U.S. Department of Education, n.d.). This provision designated that total federal funding of $116,250 million was to be dispensed between 2002 and 2007. The Act was strongly supported by both parties: the final vote was 87 to 10 in the Senate and 381 to 41 in the House (Paige, 2004). This article will address the necessity for teacher training caused by the educational institution’s accountability imposed by No Child Left Behind, and the stronger need to assist disabled learners affirmed by the law.
Key Terms in this Chapter
Highly qualified teachers: Highly qualified teachers are defined as those “ who hold … at least a bachelor’s degree, ha[ve] obtained full State certification, and ha[ve] demonstrated knowledge in the core academic subjects [they] teach.” ( Spellings, 2005 , ¶ 1)
Homeschooling: If Title 1 schools fail to meet the Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP), parents in the school district have the option to home school their children. In 2003, 85.4% of the parents of homeschooled children said that they chose homeschooling due to concern about the school’s environment, and 68.2% chose home schooling because of dissatisfaction with instruction ( National Center for Educational Statistics, 2006 ).
Accountability: Local educational agencies are held responsible for making students meet or exceed proficient level of academic achievement designated by the state. At least 95% of the students enrolled to schools needs to be assessed for the state to monitor adequate yearly progress. If students in a school fail to pass for the proficient level for 2 consecutive years, parents in the school district have the alternative to provide other means of education including private schools, charter school, and homeschooling.
Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP): States must decide how they monitor annual progresses of school districts. The 2001-2002 academic year determined the base line for monitoring AYP. Normally state standardized tests are administered to monitor progress.
Title I schools: Title I schools are the schools that receive Title I money. Low-income schools are eligible for the funding and they can use the money to hire new teachers, acquire technology, professional development, or any other means that help students meet the achievement level set by the state. Low income schools are determined by the percentage of students eligible for free or reduced priced lunch (Public Schools of North Carolina, n.d.).
Mindtool: This is a term created by David Jonassen. The three pillars of Mindtool are critical thinking, creative thinking, and content/basic thinking ( Jonassen, 2000 ). In classrooms, learners are to use technology to construct and represent their own meaning. Thus, the use of technology for simple drills or memorization does not qualify for Mindtool .
Charter Schools: No Child Left Behind promotes charter schools. Even though charter schools have to produce the same academic achievement, they enjoy more lax regulation compared to traditional schools ( Paige, 2004 ).
Accommodation of standardized test for learners with disabilities: Accommodation is made for learners with disabilities when they take standardized tests whether with procedure or with materials ( Thurlow et al., 2005 ). Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) Amendments of 1997, section 614 (3) (B) specifies that students with disabilities must take any standardized test under these conditions. The purpose of the tests have been validated, trained and knowledgeable personnel give the tests, and the instruction by the tests’ producer are followed.
Higher-order thinking: The most commonly used framework to define higher-order thinking is Benjamin Bloom’s (1956) Taxonomy of Cognitive Domain. Knowledge represented by fact recall, comprehension represented by retelling or summarizing, and application that prompts learners to use knowledge to complete a simple task are considered lower-order thinking. In contrast, analysis, synthesis, and evaluation are considered higher-order thinking ( Bloom, 1956 ). For learners to become critical thinkers, instructions need to occur in analysis, synthesis, and evaluation levels. Unfortunately, the majority of the questions asked in the classroom are either at knowledge or comprehension level ( Martin, 2003 ).
Challenging academic standards: States are required to spell out what students are expected to know and do, including basic level for lower-achieving students, proficient and advanced levels for higher-achieving students. The standards need to be coherent and rigorous.