The No Child Left Behind Dubbed Debacle

No-Child-Left-Behind

According to the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Act, all public schools need to conduct a uniform test held every year in all the states for all students. Schools that have been awarded Title I funding, has to fulfil the criteria of Adequate Yearly Progress in the test scores, and failing to do so means being featured in the list of “failing schools”. Parents can then transfer their kids to another school. Failing to qualify AYP for a second year, entails providing special tuition for students who cannot afford the same.

NCLB did address many unresolved issues that were long overdue. First, it tried to solve the inequality plague in many schools, by abating differences in student performance by race and class. Second, it insisted that all students are entitled to qualified teachers. Hence, places where, students suffered with a string of untrained teachers did not have to face the hassle anymore.

But the NCLB act undoubtedly raised many eyebrows. For starters, one of the main authors of the ACT was Margaret Spelling, a B.A in political science, but with no formal training in education or no experience in the school system. Possibly the second biggest debacle in Bush’s term after the Iraq fiasco is the NCLB.

In contrast to the negligible positives, that NCLB has had a large number of cons attached to the term. It stresses on teaching as a path to tests, and not as a facilitator for learning. It has resulted in an unnecessary numbers of tests covering almost all grade levels. This has led to the abolition of other necessary subjects like art, music, foreign language and sports in many schools. As the tests mainly concentrate on Maths and English, there has been a considerable reduction in teaching of subjects like science and civics. Though it has labelled innumerable schools as failures, it has failed itself in providing additional funding to these schools. Many low income area schools have faced closure. They had failed to meet the federal standards, and thus the staff had been fired. This has indirectly been a way in trying to make districts fund charter private schools rather than the ‘failed’ public ones.

The Act has, in all its sense, misunderstood the problem underlying the schools; it is basic elementary changes that the schools need for development and not a stricter stringent measure similar to a carrot and sticks approach.

All articles contributed in full or part by Athens Learning college preparedness resource.

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