When I first heard of "No Child Left Behind," I was very confused. I could not imagine that the capabilities of challenged students would be put on an equal basis as a non-challenged student. Over the years, I began to realize that whoever designed this program, they did not have any contact with a child with special needs.
In the 1970's while living in three different states, I had the pleasure of knowing four young boys -- all of whom were challenged. One suffered from Tourette's syndrome, another had cerebral palsy, another had Down syndrome and the last was autistic. At one time or another, these young boys were our neighbors. At least two of these children were expected to top out with the mentality of a 7-year-old.
They all attended school but needed special education classes. These children were not capable of having the mentality of an 8-year-old the next year, nor a 9-year-old the year later.
No Child Left Behind is not treating these schools fairly when they expect these children to be able to "grow" a grade every year. I am still in touch with two of those families. It has been almost 40 years and they still only have the mental capacity of a 7- or 8-year-old.