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The No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 required for all schools in the country to submit a proposal for their school improvement, requiring that each state's educational department will be held accountability for student's achievements and school performances. The United States Department of Education (2003) states, "No Child Left Behind requires each state to define adequate yearly progress for school districts and schools, within the parameters set by Title I. In defining adequate yearly progress, each state sets the minimum levels of improvementâ€¦the state then sets the bar--or level of student achievement--that a school must attain after two years in order to continue to show adequate yearly progress... all students in the state are achieving at the proficient level on state assessments in reading/language arts and math."
"All educators, including school counselors, must share accountability for student achievement. Accountability requires systematically collecting, analyzing, and using critical data elements to understand the current achievement story for students, and to begin to strategize, impact, and document how the school counseling program contributes toward supporting student success. "(Dahir, Sheldon, Valiga, 1998)
Schools and schools district accountability programs are measured with an Adequate Yearly Progress Report. "Under No Child Left Behind, each state has developed and implemented measurements for determining whether its schools and local educational agencies (LEAs) are making adequate yearly progress (AYP). AYP is an individual state's measure of progress toward the goal of 100 percent of students achieving to state academic standards in at least reading/language arts and math. It sets the minimum level of proficiency that the state, its school districts, and schools must achieve each year on annual tests and related academic indicators." (U.S. Department of Education, 2002)
The state of Louisiana accountability system measures student's academic performance with the Louisiana Educational Assessment Program known state wide as the LEAP test. This test is administered to students in grades 4 and 8. To measured students academic performances in grade 10 Louisiana developed the Graduation Exit Examination known as the GEE. These test measures how well students have mastered the states Grade Level Expectation and Content Standards. On the Louisiana Educational Assessment Program and Graduation Exit Examination test, students have to score at least approaching basic. "A student at this level has only partially demonstrated the fundamental knowledge and skills needed for the next level of schooling." (Louisiana Department of Education , 2007). The student cannot be promoted to the next grade level. Louisiana developed these standardized tests under the guidelines of the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001.
The No Child Left Behind Act set the pace for highly qualified teachers and paraprofessional. Under the No Child Left Behind Act, each state is required to implement a plan for teachers to meet the criteria of what is defined as a highly qualified teacher according to the No Child Left Behind Act called professional development.
The term professional development includes activities that:
(i) improve and increase teacher's knowledge of the academic subjects the teachers teach, and enable teachers to become highly qualified;
(ii) are an integral part of broad school wide and district wide educational improvement plans
(iii) give teachers, principals, and administrators the knowledge and skills to provide students with the opportunity to meet challenging State academic content standards and student academic achievement standards.
(iv) improve classroom management skills.
(v) (I) are high quality, sustained, intensive and classroom-focused in order to have a positive and lasting impact on classroom instruction and the teacher's performance in the classroom.
(II) are not 1 day or short term workshops or conferences.
(vi) support the recruiting, hiring and training of highly qualified teachers, including teachers who became highly qualified through State and local alternative routes to certification. (Louisiana Department of Education, 2007)
"The Southern Regional Education Board Challenge to Lead Goals for Education call for states "to examine the performance measures and standards used to assess teachers and programs." Since the 1980s, Southern Regional Education Board has advocated that states strengthen evaluation and accountability for such programs. In addition, the notable increase in the number of teaching certificates issued through alternative routes has made the inclusion of such programs in state accountability plans essential." (Southern Regional Education Board, 2006)
The state of Louisiana collaborate with the state's accredited colleges and universalities to implement programs for obtaining highly qualified teachers under the No Child Left Behind Act. Louisiana has a program called Louisiana Teachers Assistance and Assessment Program. This program was put together for teachers in Louisiana to obtain their certification in the education field " Louisiana Teachers Assistance and Assessment Program is a uniform statewide program of assistance and assessment for new teachers entering service for the first time in a Louisiana Public School System. Each new teacher, during the first semester and throughout the first two years of employment, is provided a mentor or mentor support team that will lead professional development activities designed to enhance teacher competencies found to be essential to student learning."(Louisiana Department of Education, 2007)
Inclusion, the push for accountability in schools comes about a time when schools are failing to prepare children for the world. The drop rate for low performance schools were at an all time high. Teachers instructing in classroom have not obtain their licensure to teach or where they certified in particular subjects that they were instructing. When President Bush signed the No Child Left Behind Act into law, it set a whole new set of standards for schools and staffs. It required for states to come up with a plan to help their schools and schools district improve their student's academic performance and teachers are highly qualified in their field of education.
Louisiana was one of the states whose dropout rate was at an all time high. In New Orleans it was not safe for children to attend schools due to the violence that accord in the schools. In Sabine Parish, the literacy rate was so high the state of Louisiana was threading to come and take over all schools in the parish. Louisiana's schools performances were very low before the No Child Left Behind Act was sign into effect. Since the signing of No Child Left Behind Act, Louisiana's schools have improved a great deal. The school where I am currently teaching at was recently recognized as one of the best schools in the country according to U.S.A. Today news magazine.