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No Educator Left Behind: Private Schools

No Educator Left Behind is a series providing answers from the U.S. Department of Education to questions about the federal No Child Left Behind Act and how it will affect educators. If you have a question about No Child Left Behind, send an e-mail to Ellen Delisio, and we will submit your question to the Department of Education.

Question:

Under the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Act, do private schools have to administer tests in grades 3 to 8, as do the public schools?

Does NCLB only apply to private schools that have students eligible for Title I services? How is it determined that private-school students qualify for services?

U.S. Department of Education:

Private schools, including private schools with Title I students, are not required to participate in a state's annual academic assessments under NCLB. If a private school has students who receive Title I services, the local education agency (LEA) must consult with private school officials about how the LEA will annually assess the Title I participants and how the LEA will use the results of this assessment to improve Title I services.

NCLB provides benefits to private school students, teachers, and other education personnel, including those in religiously affiliated schools. Participation in the Title I program is not a prerequisite for participation in other programs authorized under NCLB. LEAs or other entities receiving federal financial assistance are required to provide services to eligible private school children, teachers, and other personnel in line with the number of eligible children enrolled in private elementary and secondary schools in the LEA, or in the geographic area served by another entity receiving federal financial assistance.

Under Title I, Part A, private school children are eligible to receive Title I services from the LEA if they are at-risk of failing and live in participating public school attendance areas. Eligibility varies based on the particular program; for some programs, all private school students enrolled in a private school are eligible to receive services and benefits. Eligibility issues are best addressed during the required consultation process between the LEA and the private school officials.

Additional information is available through the U.S. Department of Education Office of Non-Public Education and the Department of Education Programs Serving Private School Students and Teachers.

Next week: more information on NCLB and private schools.

Read previous questions and answers in our No Educator Left Behind archive.

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