Skip to content

NCLB: Some Notable, “Left Behind” USDOE Archives

January 8, 2018

On January 08, 2002, No Child Left Behind (NCLB) was signed into law.

It marked a stark beginning of punitive test-centrism in the American public school classroom.

I have been reading archived US Department of Education (USDOE) press releases from 2001, mostly from former US ed secs Rod Paige and Margaret Spellings.

Using this link, one can access numerous USDOE archived press releases (see left margin). Most of the links are archived and still work. I happen to be perusing 2001-2002.

I would like to feature several of those archived pages in this post.

The first, dated March 22, 2001, is the USDOE press release for the first draft of HR 1, or NCLB. (Unfortunately, the link for the initial NCLB draft no longer works. However, much of the history of NCLB is preserved on this archived 107th Congress web page.)

Archived Information

March 22, 2001
Contact:  Lindsey Kozberg
(202) 401-3026

No Child Left Behind Act of 2001, H.R. 1

I congratulate the House Education and Workforce Committee and Chairman Boehner on the introduction of H.R. 1, a comprehensive bill that embodies President Bush’s bold plans for reforming America’s public elementary and secondary schools. The President’s ‘No Child Left Behind’ plan is a call for systemic change, and I thank and applaud the members of the committee for the strong interest they have shown in pursuing that change and supporting education, President Bush’s foremost priority.

H.R. 1 offers a plan of attack against the persistent and insidious achievement gap between our disadvantaged students and their more affluent peers by linking federal support for education to strong accountability for results. For too long, the federal government has funded programs without even looking at or asking about the results for our children. The time for change has come, and bold legislation such as H.R. 1 that incorporates high standards, annual measurement and accountability, including expanded parental choice, with increased support and flexibility for our state and local governments will help us usher in that change.

As a result of research and measurement, we know more than ever before about what works in our public schools and what does not. Legislation like H.R. 1 reflects the growing support in Washington, D.C., for systemic change that will emphasize what works and will make our public education system a system of achievement.

I look forward to working with the members of the committee as they begin discussions about H.R. 1, and thank them for their leadership on behalf of our children. Through meaningful discussion of the plans set forth in H.R. 1, we can make sure that no child in this country is left behind.


The second is a page capturing (mostly) Spellings’ 2007-08 efforts to (mostly) promote NCLB reauthorization. (The November 2007 New York Times reported on NCLB reauth floundering, which, as it turns out, floundered for another decade.)

Note that in July 2007, George W. Bush promoted NCLB reauthorization to the then-under-the-radar American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC). (I include Bush’s ALEC speech below.)

Strengthening No Child Left Behind
Archived Information


Final Regulations for Title I

Secretary Spellings announced final Title I regulations to strengthen the NCLB Act. (Oct 28, 2008)

Leading Education Indicators

Secretary Spellings unveiled the Leading Education Indicators at the Aspen Institute’s National Education Summit. (Sep 15, 2008)

Advancing Accountability 2008 National Tour

Since January, Secretary Spellings has visited 22 states, meeting with policy makers and educators about ways to help all students reach their potential. (Jun 9, 2008)

Meetings on Proposed Title I Regulations for NCLB

Secretary Spellings announced public meetings to discuss new Title I regulations for No Child Left Behind. (Apr 29, 2008)

Proposed Regulations to Strengthen NCLB

Secretary Spellings announced proposed regulations to strengthen NCLB by focusing on improved accountability and transparency, uniform and disaggregated graduation rates, and improved parental notification. (Apr 22, 2008)

Uniform Graduation Rate, Disaggregation of Data

Secretary Spellings announced the ED will move to a uniform graduation rate and require disaggregation of data. She made the announcement at an America’s Promise Alliance Dropout Prevention Campaign press conference. (Apr 1, 2008)

Simon Discusses Differentiated Accountability Pilot

Deputy Secretary Simon visited Indianapolis, where he discussed the new pilot program to help schools most in need of intervention and reform. (Mar 25, 2008)

Differentiated Accountability Pilot Program

Secretary Spellings announced a new pilot program to help states differentiate between underperforming schools in need of dramatic interventions and those closer to meeting the goals of NCLB. (Mar 18, 2008)

President’s 2009 Budget

Secretary Spellings highlighted President Bush’s FY 2009 budget, which strengthens the nation’s commitment to NCLB and increases funding for Title I and Pell Grants and restores funding for Reading First. (Feb 4, 2008)

K-12 Priorities for 2008

Secretary Spellings discussed NCLB and the Administration’s K-12 priorities for 2008 during remarks at National Press Club. (Jan 10, 2008)

Statement on Legislation Proposed by Senator Alexander

Secretary Spellings said that legislation proposed by Senator Lamar Alexander to expand flexibility options for states under No Child Left Behind is “a reasonable and responsible step forward.” (Nov 6, 2007)

President Talks with Civil Rights Leaders

President Bush spoke to civil rights leaders and advocates for minority and disadvantaged students about closing the achievement gap and the need to reauthorize the No Child Left Behind Act. (Oct 9, 2007)

Nation’s Report Card

“Student achievement is on the rise,” Secretary Spellings said. “No Child Left Behind is working.” President Bush also hailed the results, saying Congress should reauthorize NCLB and not “roll back accountability.” (Sep 25-26, 2007)

No Child Left Behind Bus Tour

During the NCLB bus tour in Ohio and Indiana, Secretary Spellings announced the Empowering Parents School Box, guide books on charter schools, and more. See press releases and photos. (Sep 19-21, 2007)

Secretary’s Letter on “Miller-McKeon Discussion Draft” of Title I

This letter provides ED’s general comments on the August 28 “Miller-McKeon discussion draft” of Title I of NCLB posted on the Committee on Education and Labor website. (Sep 5, 2007)

Spellings Speaks to Business Coalition

Secretary Spellings spoke to the Business Coalition for Student Achievement about the need for Congress to strengthen and reauthorize the No Child Left Behind Act this year. See the Secretary’s remarks. (Sep 5, 2007)

Secretary Visits Schools in Rural Alaska, Highlights NCLB

Secretary Spellings joined Senator Stevens and Senator Murkowski to highlight strides made by Alaska’s schools and students under No Child Left Behind. See press releases. (Aug 29-30, 2007)

Statement on Chairman Miller’s Remarks on NCLB Reauthorization

Secretary Spellings thanked Chairman Miller “for his commitment to strengthening and improving” NCLB and noted that “his leadership and bipartisanship will be essential” to improving NCLB. See statement. (Jul 30, 2007)

President’s Remarks at ALEC on NCLB Reauthorization

President Bush spoke about the reauthorization of No Child Left Behind at the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC). See the excerpt about reauthorizing NCLB or the video and text of his remarks. (Jul 26, 2007)

Secretary’s Statement on No Child Left Behind Act of 2007

“The NCLB Act of 2007 strikes a strong balance between preserving the fundamental accountability that is helping students improve, and responding to legitimate concerns raised by parents and educators,” Secretary Spellings said. (Jul 12, 2007)

Presidential Scholars

President Bush congratulated the 2007 Presidential Scholars and called on Congress to reauthorize No Child Left Behind this year. (Jun 25, 2007)

House Testimony, Invitation to Congressional Leaders

Secretary Spellings testified before the House Committee on Education and Labor. She also invited congressional leaders to collaborate in reauthorizing No Child Left Behind. (May 10-11, 2007)

Secretary Spellings Visits Los Angeles

Secretary Spellings met with education leaders, parents, and federal officials in Los Angeles, where she discussed charter schools, school safety, and the importance of reauthorizing NCLB this year. (May 3, 2007)

President Bush Visits Harlem School, Discusses NCLB

President Bush and Secretary Spellings visited the Harlem Village Academy charter school, where the President called on Congress to reauthorize No Child Left Behind this year. (Apr 24, 2007)

President Bush Discusses NCLB Reauthorization

President Bush discussed the need to reauthorize NCLB. (Apr 12, 2007)

Secretary Spellings Visits Minnesota

Secretary Spellings visited Grainwood Elementary School and spoke with the Burnsville Chamber of Commerce. (Apr 5, 2007)

Secretary Spellings Visits Arizona

Secretary Spellings visited the Mesa Arts Academy and participated in a roundtable discussion with the Arizona Business Education Coalition. (Apr 2, 2007)

President Bush Visits School in New Albany, Indiana

President Bush spoke at Silver Street Elementary School in New Albany, Indiana, where he discussed the reauthorization of NCLB. (Mar 2, 2007)

Secretary Spellings Visits Tampa

Secretary Spellings visited Dunbar Magnet School in Tampa, Florida, where she talked business leaders, teachers, students, and parents about the importance of reauthorizing NCLB this year. (Feb 22, 2007)

Statement on Aspen Institute Report on NCLB

Secretary Spellings said the recommendations by the Aspen Institute’s Commission on NCLB “recognize the solid foundation built by NCLB and reaffirm the law’s core principles.” (Feb 13, 2007)

Secretary Spellings Visits Atlanta

Secretary Spellings met with business and community leaders, students and teachers in Atlanta, Georgia, rounding out a month-long celebration of the five-year anniversary of the historic No Child Left Behind Act and stressing the importance of reauthorizingthe law this year. (Jan 30, 2007)

Secretary Spellings Visits Chicago

Secretary Spellings kicked off a national dialogue in Chicago with business leaders, students, teachers, and school officials to promote Building on Results: A Blueprint for Strengthening the No Child Left Behind Act. (Jan 25, 2007)

Secretary Spellings Visits Dallas

At the Northeast Leadership Forum Annual Luncheon in Dallas, Secretary Spellings spoke about the success of students under NCLB and encouraged business and community leaders to support the reauthorization of the law. (Jan 19, 2007)

Secretary Spellings Hails Support of Business Leaders in Reauthorizing NCLB

Secretary Spellings met with leaders of the Business Coalition for Student Achievement to thank them for their support of the No Child Left Behind Act and to discuss the shared goal of reauthorizing NCLB this year. (Jan 18, 2007)

Building on Results: A Blueprint for Strengthening NCLB

See the administration’s proposals for reauthorizing No Child Left Behind (Jan 2007) and a subsequent letter describing policy priorities (Apr 2007). See fact sheets and videos of NCLB success stories.

President Bush, Mrs. Bush, and Secretary Spellings Meet with Members of Congress on Fifth Anniversary of NCLB

President Bush, Mrs. Bush, and Secretary Spellings met with bicameral and bipartisan members of Congress on the fifth anniversary of No Child Left Behind. The reauthorization of NCLB is one of the President’s top priorities—and an area where he believes both parties can work together to improve our children’s lives and enhance American competitiveness. See a video, photo, and fact sheet. (Jan 8, 2007)

President Discusses NCLB Reauthorization at ED

“I have just reassured the Secretary and the folks who work here,” President Bush said, “that the reauthorization of the No Child Left Behind Act is a priority of this administration.” See a video of the President’s remarks. See photos of the discussion and of the President’s visit that day at Woodridge Elementary and Middle Campus in Washington, D.C. (Oct 5, 2006)

Fact Sheet

Learn about progress made under NCLB and areas where we can look to improve. (Oct 5, 2006)

President Discusses NCLB in Greensboro, North Carolina

President Bush congratulated the principal, teachers, and parents at Waldo C. Falkener Elementary School in Greensboro, North Carolina, “for working hard to make this a fantastically interesting place for our children to go to school.” See his remarks, including a video and photos. (Oct 18, 2006)

Next, here are excerpts related to NCLB from Bush’s speech dated July 26, 2007, to his “friends here at ALEC.” Note that Bush says he’s for local control, but when “you” (meaning the federal government) “spend money, you ought to insist upon results.” In the end, via NCLB, Bush supports local control of education overseen by punitive, federal control.

President Bush Addresses the American Legislative Exchange Council, Discusses Budget, Education and War on Terror 
Philadelphia Marriott
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

9:11 A.M. EDT

THE PRESIDENT: Thank you very much. Thanks for the warm welcome. It’s good to be back with my friends here at ALEC. …

I appreciate Dolores Mertz and all the leadership of ALEC. I appreciate Jerry Watson, the Private Sector Chairman. Thank you all. Thank you for serving. Our government is only as good as the willingness of good people to serve. And it’s not easy to serve in public life. Sometimes it can get a little testy. (Laughter.) Sometimes people would rather throw a punch than put out a hand of fellowship. But that’s okay. What matters is, is that our democracy flourish, that people have an opportunity to exchange ideas, that there be constructive debate. And that requires good people willing to sacrifice to serve. And one of the reasons I wanted to come back today is to encourage you to continue serving your states, to continue representing the people.

I urge you to not rely upon the latest opinion poll to tell you what to believe. I ask you to stand strong on your beliefs, and that will continue to make you a worthy public servant.

I want to spend a little time talking about a couple of issues. I’d like to spend time talking about the budget and the economy, a little time talking about how to educate our children — how best to educate our children. …

Another way to make sure this economy grows is to be smart about our education system. The No Child Left Behind Act is an important piece of legislation. I’m a big believer in it, and I’ll tell you why. First of all, as the Speaker will tell you, I’m a strong advocate for local control of schools. I don’t believe Washington ought to be telling local districts how to run their school system. I do not believe that. (Applause.)

But I do believe this: I believe that when you spend money, you ought to insist upon results. That’s what I believe. I believe that every child can learn, and I believe that we ought to expect every school to teach. And when we spend money, I think it makes sense to ask simple questions: Can the child you’re educating read, write, add and subtract? I don’t think it’s too much to ask. As a matter of fact, I think it’s good for society that we do ask. It’s what I call challenging the soft bigotry of low expectations. (Applause.) If you have low expectations, you’ve going to get lousy results. If you have high expectations for every child, you’re not afraid to measure.

No Child Left Behind says we’re going to spend federal money, and we want you to develop an accountability system that will show the parents and taxpayers that the schools are meeting high standards. That’s what it says, and it’s working. You know, one of the real problems we have in America is an achievement gap. I guess that’s a fancy word for saying that generally Anglo kids are doing better in the basics than African American or Latino kids. And that’s not good for this country, and it’s not right. And it seems like to me we’ve got to focus our efforts and energies on solving that problem if we want this country to be a hopeful country with a strong economy.

The economy is going to demand brain power as we head into the 21st century, and therefore now is the time to make sure our 4th graders can read, write, and add and subtract, and our 8th graders are more proficient in math, and when you graduate from high school, your diploma means something. And the best place to start is to measure. And when you see a problem, fix it before it’s too late. When you find an inner-city kid that may not have the right curriculum to get he or she up to the grade level at the 4th grade, let’s solve it now; let’s now wait. No Child Left Behind is working, and it needs to be reauthorized by the United States Congress. (Applause.) …


Thanks for letting me come. God bless. (Applause.)

END 9:57 A.M. EDT

The final USDOE archived offering, dated June 14, 2001, is entitled, “Charter Schools Prompting Improvements in School Districts According to Two US Department of Education Reports.”

Charter school expansion gained favored status in NCLB and was even included as an option for replacing

I bolded three sections. The first highlights a desperation for traditional school districts to hold onto funding necessary to operate. The second acknowledges some problems of charter school oversight but quickly dismisses oversight issues with “when it works, it works.”

The third I initially found puzzling: Schools learning to “base accountability on performance rather than compliance.” I suppose it means that achieving desired test scores is what matters, not the good faith efforts to try to (force?) students to produce higher test scores. (I don’t think advocates of the “performance vs. compliance” would frame it as such, but it the end, the test scores are what matters to test-score-driven reformers.)


Archived Information

June 14, 2001
CONTACT: Melinda Kitchell Malico
(202) 401-1008

Secretary’s Speech at Manhattan Institute

New research reports from the U.S. Department of Education show that charter schools are helping public schools and districts to improve.

One new report shows that school districts are changing their educational services and operations in response to the creation of charter schools in those districts — suggesting that competition can play a positive role in helping to improve all public schools.

A second report shows that strong accountability can lead to better instruction and improved schools. The report argues that traditional school districts can learn important lessons from the charter school experience about how to hold all public schools accountable for results.

The reports are entitled Challenge and Opportunity: The Impact of Charter Schools on Districts and A Study of Charter School Accountability

“Charter schools offer meaningful options for parents and their children — particularly for those children who would otherwise be left behind in low-performing schools,” said U.S. Secretary of Education Rod Paige during a speech today at the Manhattan Institute in New York City. “The good news is that charter schools do not just help the students they serve directly, they also prod the entire system to improve. The districts studied are responding to competition by listening to parents, adding programs at other public schools, and more closely examining student achievement to determine what needs to be done to improve it. This means better schools for all of our children.”

Charter schools are public schools that are freed from many state and local regulations and rules but are held accountable for improving student achievement. To date, some 2,100 charter schools have been formed in the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and the 36 states that have passed charter school authorizing legislation.

“The President’s solid support for charter schools, coupled with bipartisan Congressional backing, will help expand public school choice and provide more options for children and parents,” Paige said. “In turn, districts will respond with improved student achievement.”

Challenge and Opportunity: The Impact of Charter Schools on Districts surveyed district leaders’ perspectives on changes attributed to charter schools. The study is the largest review to date conducted of the impact of charter schools on school systems. The study is based on interviews and site visits to 49 school districts in Arizona, California, Colorado, Massachusetts and Michigan.

Positive changes cited by these districts included:

  • adding an educational program at existing schools, such as all-day kindergarten;
  • opening a specialty school, such as gifted or dropout programs;
  • being more responsive to parents and improving communication;
  • offering character education or a specialized curriculum.

Some districts reported reduced revenue resulting from students who had transferred from regular district schools to charter schools. But according to the report, these same districts made the most effort to win back children and families through changes to the system.

A Study of Charter School Accountability is the first extensive, nationwide study of charter school accountability. Researchers spent two years (1997-1999) studying 150 charter schools, and interviewing school staff, state officials and representatives of 60 state and local authorizing agencies. The report concludes that external accountability — being answerable to an oversight authority — promotes internal accountability — including productive working relationships and better coordination among teachers, administrators and students.

“The President’s education proposal, No Child Left Behind, will move all public schools towards a focus on results and away from concentrating on rules and regulations,” Paige added. “Charter schools are leading the way by illustrating that the best way to gain the confidence of families, teachers and supporters is to focus on quality instruction.”

Other findings include:

  • Creating governing boards, which are often the official oversight mechanism for charter schools, and establishing a good division of responsibility between board and staff, is very challenging for many charter schools. When this relationship works well, however, it strengthens internal accountability.
  • Agencies that watch over charter schools struggle to learn how to base accountability on performance rather than compliance. New organizations created to oversee charter schools–special offices in universities, school districts and state governments–learn their jobs relatively quickly, while conventional school district offices have trouble breaking long-established habits of detailed compliance-oriented oversight.

The impact study is part of the department’s four-year national evaluation of charter schools, prepared under contract with the Office of Educational Research and Improvement by RPP International, Emeryville, Calif., and the accountability study was prepared under contract by the Center on Reinventing Public Education at the University of Washington.

NOTE TO EDITORSChallenge and Opportunity: The Impact of Charter Schools on Districts is available at: A Study of Charter School Accountability is available at: Copies are also available by calling 1-877-4ED-PUBS.

NCLB failed. One cannot punish students and teachers into a warped, high-test-score, market-styled-school utopia.

Though NCLB is gone, America has yet to learn this lesson.

getschooled test


Want to read about the history of charter schools and vouchers?

School Choice: The End of Public Education? 

school choice cover  (Click image to enlarge)

Schneider is a southern Louisiana native, career teacher, trained researcher, and author of two other books: A Chronicle of Echoes: Who’s Who In the Implosion of American Public Education and Common Core Dilemma: Who Owns Our Schools?. You should buy these books. They’re great. No, really.

both books

Don’t care to buy from Amazon? Purchase my books from Powell’s City of Books instead.

  1. Who in their right mind ever believed that test-driven threats, coercion, punishment, and humiliation would fix the problems of generational poverty, family dysfunction, and economic hopelessness?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s