Under the No Child Left Behind Act, students are assessed based on their performances on annual multiple-choice math and reading tests, resulting in classroom environments wherein test scores take precedent over learning. The Act's heavy focus on math and reading has drawn criticism that students are lacking a well-rounded curriculum.
The federal government has been highly criticized for failing to provide the state funding necessary for the proper implementation of the mandated education reform, which took effect in 2002. The No Child Left Behind Act was passed during a time of financial crisis that already required most states to make budget cuts in the area of education. The federal government's failure to reimburse the additional cost of complying with their new education laws resulted in mass criticism, especially with regard to the dire circumstances under which the Act was implemented in the first place.