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The Clinton administration, concerned that cracking down would rile the Republican Congress, focused on providing states with assistance in the development process.As of the original 1997 deadline, the American Federation of Teachers found that just 17 states had “clear and specific standards” in English, math, social studies, and science.
The Elementary and Secondary Education Act’s 50-plus separate, categorical grants would be reduced to five broad “performance-based grants” funding the Title I compensatory-education program, teacher quality, English proficiency, public school choice, and innovation.
As the next reauthorization cycle rolled around, conservatives were supportive of the idea of state flexibility combined with performance goals, but they favored an even broader block grant approach that would give states enormous discretion over how they spent federal education funding.
The reauthorization required states to develop content and performance standards for K-12 schools.
Congress also adopted the notion of “adequate yearly progress” that later became the linchpin of accountability in No Child Left Behind.
In so doing, however, agreements in principle sometimes papered over real disagreements regarding policy particulars.
This meant that many key issues in No Child Left Behind were postponed until implementation.The scene in January 2002 was a civics text come to life.Flanked by jubilant members of Congress and standing in front of a cheering crowd, President George W.In 1994 President Clinton signed into law “Goals 2000,” which provided grants to help states develop academic standards.The sea change came with the 1994 reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, which signaled a nationwide commitment to standards-based reform.“No piece of legislation will have a greater impact or influence on that.” While No Child Left Behind does mark an unprecedented extension of federal authority over states and local schools, the law’s accountability measures were not, for the most part, newly developed in 2001.No Child Left Behind was the cumulative result of a standards-and-testing movement that began with the release of the report by the Reagan administration in 1983.Nevertheless, the 1994 reauthorization jumpstarted the process of developing standards and tests in most states.By the mid-1990s, then, the themes of No Child Left Behind were already on the table.States were required to make “continuous and substantial” progress toward the goal of academic proficiency for all students.However, there was no deadline for doing so; indeed, consequences were largely absent from the law.