On Jan. 8, 2002, surrounded by members of both the Democratic and Republican congressional leadership, President George W. Bush signed the No Child Left Behind Act--called NCLB--into law. NCLB is the nation's most significant federal legislation on K-12 schooling since the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) of 1965, and the most ambitious federal intervention in a domain long regarded as the preserve of state and local governments.
Congress approved NCLB by large, bipartisan majorities, with the law passing 87-10 in the U.S. Senate and 381-41 in the House of Representatives. Emerging from an exhaustive year of negotiations, NCLB refashioned federal education policy in the areas of testing, accountability and teacher quality. . . .
Frederick M. Hess is a resident scholar and director of education policy studies at AEI. Rosemary H. Kendrick is a research associate at AEI.