When the No Child Left Behind Act was signed into action in 2001, the federal government agreed to fund the program fully. That promise has not been kept according to St. Charles Parish School Board Vice President Sonny Savoie.
"I believe that the present funding for the program is somewhere around 18 percent, far lower than promised," said Savoie, who is also Director of the National School Board Association.
"Some standards mandated by Congress for the No Child Left Behind Act were implemented in St. Charles Parish long before they were signed into action by President Bush. But with new federal accountability standards for states and school districts comes an increased need for federal funding and resources to ensure the success of the program," said Savoie, adding, the federal government agreed to fund the program fully but has fallen short of their promise to school districts.
Savoie recently attended the National School Boards Associations 33rd Federal Relations Network Conference in Washington D.C. where leaders met to discuss issues involving No Child Left Behind. One of the issues brought into the spot light was the lack of federal funding for the program.
"Each district is held to a standard of education. As the standards for St. Charles Parish continue to rise due to the parish's over all success rate, money is needed to fund the program to ensure no students are left behind. Without proper funding to maintain higher standards, so many children can be lost in the system," said Savoie.
"We can't take money from students on the high end of the bar to fund the students on the low end. When you take money away from one set, the other suffers. The other option is to continue to raise local taxes, that’s just not fair the public. The principles, teachers, and school board officials have the ability to accomplish the goals set forth with the No Child Left Behind Act but we can not meet those goals with out further funding.”
The No Child Left Behind Act is an innovative program formulated to ensure the scholastic progress of all children regardless of the child's economic background, race, level of education or academic ability. Signed into action in 2001, the program enforced a new set of accountability standards for public school districts and a growing need for extensive federal funding to ensure the success of the program.
According to the National Education Department’s published reports, the No Child Left Behind Act ensures accountability and flexibility as well as increased federal support for education. “Like with most federal funded endeavors, over time, the government has failed live up its obligation to the fund such a program.” said Savoie.
Without proper federal funding, he said, it is almost impossible to implement the program fully so that every child can benefit.