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  • No Child Left Behind and the Inherent Conflict with the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act: Leaving Special Education Students Further Behind

    On January 8, 2002, Congress reauthorized and President Bush signed the Elementary and Secondary Education Act. In a shrewd political move to become the “education president,” the act was publicly renamed the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB). The goal of this re-branded educational reform act was to “ensure that all children have a fair, equal, and significant opportunity to obtain a high-quality education and reach, at a minimum, proficiency on challenging State academic achievement standards and state academic assessments.” While the aims of No Child Left Behind are noble goals of improving American public education, the methods of achieving these goals have created an even greater disparity in the quality of education for many students, particularly for students with disabilities. Not only have the NCLB methods of assessment widened the gap between the performance levels of regular education students and their disabled peers, but, even more significantly, NCLB directly and substantially conflicts with the Individuals With Disabilities Education Act (IDEA).