The No Child Left Behind law requires schools to meet annual goals largely based on student test scores. When schools fail to make "adequate yearly progress," the law assigns them a label and requires them to take certain corrective steps.
- After failing to make adequate yearly progress for one year, schools are put on notice but don't have to take any specific steps.
- After failing for a second consecutive year, schools are labeled "in need of improvement." They have to offer to send their students to other public schools in the district and pay the transportation cost. They also are supposed to develop a plan for improving student performance that might include adding more professional development for teachers.
- After failing for a third straight year, schools are in their second year of "in need of improvement." They must offer free tutoring to students and continue offering public school choice.
- After four years, schools are placed in "corrective action." That requires doing things such as implementing a new curriculum, replacing some employees or extending the school day.
- After five years of failing, schools are in "restructuring planning," which means developing a plan to restructure the school.
- After failing six years in a row, schools are in "restructuring" and must implement their plan. Options include reopening as a charter school; replacing all or most of the school staff; contracting with a private organization to run the school or letting the state take it over; undertaking any other major restructuring that produces fundamental change.