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No Educator Left Behind:
One Hundred Percent Proficiency

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:

Why does NCLB call for 100 percent of students to achieve proficiency by the 2013-2014 school year?

U.S. Department of Education:

If the goal were anything short of 100 percent proficiency, Congress would in effect be saying -- in federal law -- that it is acceptable for states to leave a certain percentage of their students behind, even as those states accept billions in federal education funds. No Child Left Behind requires that 100 percent of students gain the skills that individual states have determined all students need to know in order to be successful. A standard lower than 100 percent would send the message that it is acceptable to leave a certain percentage of students without those skills. For example, if Congress were to require 95 percent instead of 100 percent, legislators would effectively be saying -- in federal law -- that it is acceptable for up to 5 percent of the nation's children to be denied a quality education. That is not a message that should be sent to America's parents, teachers, and students.

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

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