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No Educator Left Behind: Untested Programs

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.


Does NCLB do anything to prevent untested programs from being used in classrooms?


For too many years, too many schools have experimented with lessons and materials that have proven to be ineffective -- at the expense of their students. Under the No Child Left Behind Act, federal support is targeted to those educational programs that have been demonstrated to be effective through rigorous scientific research.

Reading First is such a program. Programs and practices grounded in scientifically based research are not fads or untested ideas; they have proven track records of success. By funding such programs, No Child Left Behind encourages their use, as opposed to the use of untried programs that may later turn out to be fads. Furthermore, No Child Left Behind's accountability requirements bring real consequences to those schools that continually fail to improve student achievement as a result of using programs and practices for which there is no evidence of success.

Such schools would be identified as needing improvement and required to make changes as outlined in the section on Accountability, including using education programs that are grounded in scientifically based research.

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