By: Stephen Florino
(KHNL) - In the four years since it took effect in 2002, the "No Child Left Behind Law" has had a sweeping impact on public school classrooms across the country.
It affects what students are taught, the tests they take, the training of their teachers, and the way money is spent on education.
Students at Nuuanu Elementary proudly show off the reward for all their hard work.
A no child left behind national blue ribbon award. One of three in Hawaii. One of 242 in the nation.
"I'm proud of our school for earning it cause it's like a really big award. So i'm happy, happy cause it shows that Hawaii is not just an island cause we actually have schools that mean something," said 5th grader Haley Miyaoka.
President Bush signed the no child left behind act into law in 2001. It requires elementary and secondary schools to show proficiency and progress in reading and math.
Nuuanu Elementary was honored because its students consistently score in the top 10-percentile on the state test. Everyone credits the relationship between students, teachers, and parents. For school subjects like math and science, "they make it more fun by making activities instead of just giving us work to do," Korey Wong 6th grader.
However, Nuuanu Elementary is in the minority. Of Hawaii's 282 public schools, only 95, or 34-percent, reach performance targets.
There are 37 criteria that schools must meet under no child left behind. They're considered failing if they fail in all of the categories, or just one of them.
Robert McClelland, "That is a challenge. It is either all or nothing. You bring all the kids up, or you have this status of not meeting adequate yearly progress."
Special need students, esl students, a kid could have a bad day so how do you, why do penalize the school for the misgivings of one child," James Toyooka Nuuanu Elementary Principal.
Under "No Child Left Behind", each state came up with their own sets of guidelines and standards. Some states lowered theirs to comply with the law. However Hawaii did not.
Despite the controversy, many like what "No Child Left Behind" is trying to accomplish.
Many expect the law to be reworked in the near future.