Children reading at Wickliffe Elementary in Upper Arlington, Ohio
The 2001 No Child Left Behind Act seeks to improve the nation's schools and make them more accountable. Yet some school officials, especially in rural areas, say the federal mandate is inflexible and their school systems cannot meet the demands.
No Child Left Behind Overview
The Federal Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), dubbed the "No Child Left Behind Act" is based on four main points:
• School accountability for the results of all students -- schools must produce annual state and school district report cards.
• Schools should emphasize teaching methods based on scientific research.
• Parents are provided more choices, including the ability to transfer students from schools that consistently underperform.
• For schools that meet certain requirements, there is expanded local control and flexibility in the spending of federal funds.Source: U.S. Department of Education
Several states are considering opting out of federal funds just to escape the federal mandate. Talk of the Nation takes a new look at President Bush's efforts to make schools accountable.
Delegate James Dillard, member of the Virginia House of Delegates, a Republican representing Fairfax County and chair of the House Education Committee
Eugene Hickok, acting deputy secretary of the U.S. Department of Education
Jack Jennings, director of the Center on Education Policy
Sharon Birnkrant, principal of the H.W. Smith Elementary School in Syracuse, N.Y.