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.
A Harvard University study found that because of NCLB, teachers reported they ignored important curriculum aspects, de-emphasized or neglected untested topics, and focused on the tested subjects. What is the Department of Education doing to get teacher views on NCLB?
One way for us to gain teachers' perspectives is through Teachers Ask the Secretary. I thank you for offering your [opinion.] The federal government isn't here to tell states and districts what to teach. Curriculum is a local decision, made with the input of local educators. The No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Act does indeed focus instruction on the two most critical subjects for young students to master, reading and mathematics. A child who can read is a child who can learn, whatever the subject matter may be. NCLB also requires that teachers of "core academic subjects" be highly qualified. These core subjects include not just mathematics and language arts, but science, history, geography, civics and government, economics, foreign languages, and the arts.
Professional development also is an important part of NCLB. We've held numerous Teacher-to-Teacher Workshops so teachers can share and replicate best practices. The U.S. Department of Education provides free online courses; 42 states now accept its courses for credit. And our What Works Clearinghouse scientifically reviews educational policies and programs so that educators know their strengths and weaknesses according to the best available evidence.
Read previous questions and answers in our No Educator Left Behind archive.