Elementary and Secondary Education Act

First signed into law in 1965, the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, known as the No Child Left Behind Act, is the primary public education law which originated with President Lyndon Johnson’s War on Poverty. The intent of ESEA was to close the achievement gap between children who live in poverty and their more advantaged peers.

In 2001, President Bush signed into law bi-partisan legislation to amend ESEA, which became known as the No Child Left Behind Act. NCLB contained sweeping changes including the creation of a new accountability system and defining highly qualified teacher, among many other issues.

In 2007, CEC unveiled recommendations to improve ESEA/NCLB in preparation the law’s reauthorization. In 2010, CEC updated its recommendations to address critical issues such as teacher quality, strengthening assessment and accountability systems, positive school reform, teacher evaluation systems and charter schools. Although Congress was due to revise ESEA/NCLB in 2007, the legislative process is still ongoing.

In response to Congress’s delay in reauthorizing ESEA/NCLB, in 2011-2012 the U.S. Department of Education, under the leadership of U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, issued waivers to relieve states and school districts from many of ESEA/NCLB’s most controversial requirements in exchange for adopting certain education reforms, such as adopting college and career ready standards.  The implementation of the waivers will undoubtedly impact ESEA/NCLB reauthorization, which is currently working its way through the legislative process.

ESEA Reauthorization News: Here you will find the latest information about ESEA reauthorization including action taken by Congress and the U.S. Department of Education, including information about waivers.

CEC’s Recommendations to Improve ESEA: Here you will find CEC’s recommendations for ESEA reauthorization including topics such as teacher quality and evaluation, assessment and accountability systems, gifted education, restraint and seclusion, coordination with IDEA and much more.

ESEA/NCLB Historical Documents: Here you will find CEC’s position and analysis of ESEA/NCLB released after President Bush signed No Child Left Behind into law in 2001.