RELEASE: Democrats for Education Reform Statement Marks the Twelfth Anniversary of the No Child Left Behind Act


January 7, 2014

Devin Boyle | 202.445.0416 |


Democrats for Education Reform Statement Marks the Twelfth Anniversary of the No Child Left Behind Act

Washington, January 7, 2014 – Democrats for Education Reform (DFER) issued the following statement from Policy Director Charles Barone today, ahead of the twelfth anniversary of the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB). Barone was the lead negotiator for House Democrats on the crafting of the original bill.

“This year is a special milestone in that 2014 was when NCLB purportedly required all children to be proficient in math and reading. The fact that the law never actually required schools to meet the 100% proficiency goal – ever – in order to avoid sanctions is emblematic of the problems in separating fact from fiction about the law’s positive and negative impacts.

“Even its detractors concede, however, that the No Child Left Behind Act shined a spotlight on schools in which students were not learning to their utmost potential. Despite the fact that waivers have drastically changed the nature of state accountability systems, NCLB’s policies are now a permanent part of the education policy landscape.

“All states still retain key provisions from NCLB, particularly a focus on student academic performance for at-risk subgroups and a goal of narrowing achievement gaps. Moreover, political support for those provisions from advocacy, business, and civil rights groups is stronger now than when NCLB was signed into law.

“The challenge of passing a law that forced that type of scrutiny of underperforming schools was just as tough as the challenges facing current reform efforts on issues like standards, assessments, choice, teacher evaluation, and tenure. And the political fights are just as worthy and winnable. The lesson from NCLB is that those pushing back may change the pace of education reform, but not its inexorable march forward.”

Click here to view our infographic on NCLB’s twelfth anniversary.

About Democrats for Education Reform
Democrats for Education Reform (DFER) is a political reform organization with 13 state offices that cultivates and supports leaders in the Democratic party who champion America’s public schoolchildren.