Published: 23rd March, 2015 Last Edited: 23rd March, 2015
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On January 5, 2001, President George W. Bush signed into legislation the No Child Left Behind Act. The goal of No Child Left Behind (NCLB) was to improve the performance of U.S. schools and required every state to test every student every year from third through eighth grade in both reading and math. The federal government would hold schools accountable for the progress and success of their students while allowing the states to set their own academic standards and choose their own tests (PBS, 2001a). Prior to NCLB, only 15 states performed student testing for these grades (Symonds, 2001).
The bill stated that the government would increase funding for poor school districts and focused on attaining better achievement from poor and minority students (PBS, 2001b). If in three years a school did not show improvement in its test scores, its students could receive federal funds to attend a better public or private school (Symonds, 2001) and in the fourth and fifth years of poor improvement, the school would need to make corrective actions to improve the school and ultimately may need to restructure the school (USDE, 2003). In addition, the lofty goal of ALL students being proficient and passing the state tests by 2014 was stated in the act (Antle, 2005).
The schools receive annual "report cards" which show the test results and show how the states are progressing. The results must be broken down by demographics - poverty, race, ethnicity, disability and limited English proficiency - to prevent schools from lumping all of the scores together in an average and disguising the achievement gaps between the different groups (PBS, 2001b). Historically, students did not break down their testing results and the scores were incredibly misleading and did not correctly designate the students who still needed assistance.
NCLB was a bi-partisan bill introduced by President Bush and steered though the Senate by the late Senator Ted Kennedy. The bill appealed to both sides of the political world, as the Democrats wished for increased spending and focus on minority students and the Republicans hoped for school choice options and tough standards.
Prevalence and Seriousness
Prior to NCLB, there was no mandatory testing in all states - no method to see how schools, states and student groups stacked up against one another. The achievement gap between disadvantaged and advantaged students continued to widen, with poor students all but forgotten. NCLB ultimately set a bar for where students need to be. The government put money behind the legislation and attempted to give the states and ultimately the schools the tools they need to get all students to an acceptable level.
Schools and educators that fail to give students the tools to learn year after year need to be replaced. A child does not have a choice what neighborhood he lives in and thus what public school he attends. All children must be presented with equal opportunities in order to give them the chance to succeed (PBS, 2002a).
Impact on Families
Poor families often get stuck with poor schools - both financially and educationally. A child from a poor family should be given the same educational opportunities and have the same educational expectations placed on him/her. NCLB would attempt to offer all students - with no regard to their or their neighborhood's financial situation.
One important section of NCLB deals with the necessity of parental involvement. It states that in order to receive funds to help the academic achievement of the disadvantaged students, the schools must have a written policy that implements programs, activities and procedures for the involvement of parents. This policy would be distributed to all of the parents and involve them in the development of the programs and activities. Special attention would be paid to economically disadvantaged, disabled, poor English speaking and racial and ethnic minority parents to enable their participation (USDE, 2003).
Pros and Cons of No Child Left Behind
The late Ted Kennedy, U.S. Senator from Massachusetts, was instrumental in garnering support and collaborating with both political parties in order to push through No Child Left Behind. Even after the law was sharply criticized, he remained firm in the belief that all children have the ability to learn and that we should hold the schools accountable in seeing that they can and do learn (McKenzie, 2009).
The Bush administration including his Education Secretary Margaret Spellings and the Department of Education firmly believed in No Child Left Behind. Even after the National Education Association and two states filed lawsuits against NCLB, they staunchly defended the act and their policies.
The California Teachers Association (CTA) which boasts 325,000 members is critical of not only NCLB, but the Obama administration's attempts to revise the flawed plan. The CTA describes NCLB as one-size-fits-all and that it unfairly uses test scores to label schools and students as failing without offering any solution to help schools improve. They feel that the focus should be to create quality neighborhood schools for all students, and not creating a competition system that creates winner and loser schools. The CTA feels that by continuing the current NCLB testing plans that the achievement gaps will increase and not decrease as is the law's intention (CTA, 2010).
FairTest, the National Center for Fair and Open Testing is outspoken concerning their disdain with the current structure of the NCLB testing structure. They have assembled over 150 organizations including the NAACP and the National Education Association in a joint statement which is critical regarding the fairness and effectiveness of NCLB. Their concerns include, over-emphasizing the standardized testing with a strict curriculum focused on test preparation rather than true academics, using sanctions that do not help improve schools, inadequate funding and exclusion of low-scoring children in order to help test results. FairTest believes that NCLB should focus on systemic changes, as opposed to application of sanctions (FairTest, 2004).
The National Education Association (NEA) has been an outspoken critic of the NCLB law since its inception. As the largest organization of education professionals, the NEA believes they are the voice of the public educator and have the resources and members "in the field" to fuel their opposition. The NEA does not believe that standardized testing and strict guidelines are our country's answer to a great public education. They stress the importance of helping hard-to-staff schools, especially those with a high concentration of disadvantaged students, with additional funding to attract and keep quality teachers. They feel the government should focus on early childhood education as well as parental involvement and healthcare for all, instead of pushing education reform that focuses on test passing. The NEA wants the federal government to require states to offer an equal education to all - with funding targeted to schools with the greatest poverty (NEA, 2010a).
The amount of opposition to NCLB is astounding. An effort to find additional support was unsuccessful. With over 3.2 million members, the NEA has a tremendous impact on education in America. Their legislative power and focus will undoubtedly steer the new administrations version of NCLB toward a more teacher-friendly position. They have a very convincing argument. Testing students strictly just to test them doesn't offer a solution to the bigger problem - the inequality of teachers and schools throughout the country (NEA, 2010b).
With his 2010 State of the Union address President Barack Obama introduced his thoughts concerning the reauthorization of NCLB. He stressed the need to update and amend the law with increased funding (upwards of $4 billion) while focusing on rewarding success instead of failure and investing in reform that raises student achievement. His focus on an equal education for all was clear in his statement, "And in this country, the success of our children cannot depend more on where they live than on their potential" (USDE, 2010).
One criticism n about NCLB was that teachers and school administrators were not consulted or considered when developing the law - especially the testing portion. The new administration is consulting teachers with Teaching Ambassador Fellows and listening to their ideas for a new NCLB (USDE, 2010).
By placing the testing onus on the states with no directive for achievement, the government essentially introduced 50 separate testing programs - to all be developed and administered by their respective states. The required skills and knowledge for each test should be the same nationwide. If the goal is for all students to be college-bound, all students should have the same college-bound requirements - similar to an SAT or ACT test.
Recruiting and retaining great teachers in low-income schools should be and is a primary focus of the new NCLB. All teachers should be rewarded both with recognition and financially for their students' achievement. By offering a greater salary and clear bonus structure poor schools can become a magnet for teachers who have a true desire to teach and to have their students succeed.
As our minority populations become majority populations over the next 20 years, our schools will need to make an effort to keep a balanced playing field for all students. Equal learning opportunities and facilities will need to be offered in order to give every child the opportunities the government should provide for them. The government needs to look at schools and school districts that have overcome their neighborhood or financial status to become educational gems. Use these schools and their successes as examples of how to overcome adversity.
A single test or list of tested items must be developed. While NCLB leaves the testing up to the states, I believe that eventually there will be a clear directive for what should be tested and this will ensure that all students are receiving the same treatment.
Training, hiring and retaining excellent teachers will remain as the most difficult aspect of disadvantaged schools. In order for a teacher to choose to teach at a school with a poor or less supportive student body, there will need to be incentives for the teachers. While there are some teachers who thrive in a challenging atmosphere, there are many more who would prefer a financially solid school with plentiful supplies and eager parent involvement.
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On January 8, 2002, President Bush signed into law the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 (NCLB). This law represents his education reform plan and contains changes to the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) since it was enacted in 1965. It is asking America's schools to describe their success in terms of what each student accomplishes. The act contains the President's four basic education reform principles: stronger accountability for results, especially in reading, increased flexibility and local control, expanded options for parents, and teacher and staff quality.
Schools will be held responsible for improving the academic performance of all students, and there will be real consequences for districts and schools that fail to make progress. Within twelve years, all students must perform at a proficient level under their state standards. But, states will set their own standards for each grade--so each state will say how well children should be reading at the end of third grade.
Interested parents, families, and taxpayers can look to their state for detailed information about its academic standards. No Child Left Behind combines and simplifies programs, so that schools can get and use federal funding. Schools and teachers will get a boost for more than $4 billion in 2002 that allows schools to promote teacher quality through training and recruitment. Parents with a child enrolled in a school identified as in need of improvement will be able to transfer their child to a better performing public school or public charter school.
No Child Left Behind gives districts new flexibility and freedom with Federal funds so children with disabilities can be better served. States will receive the freedom to target up to 50 percent of federal non-Title I dollars under the Act to programs that will have the most positive impact on the students.Citation styles:
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Running head. NO CHILD LEFT BEHIND ACT
No Child Left Behind Act. Pros and Cons
In January 8. 2002. the No Child Left Behind Act. or NCLB. of 2001 was finally signed into law. The NCLB was often the center of debates as it spurred national interest on what terms it could achieve and on what grounds the Act is supposed to weak and open to criticism. The NCLB essentially entails certain provisions such as the task of refining the quality of teachers in schools by
setting-up the highly qualified status as the only acceptable status for schools to acquire the services of an aspiring teacher
Further. the NCLB also aims at a more vigilant watch over the progress of the performance of students among public schools. These assessments will be required so that federal school funding for these public schools will be released. Though there are exceptions under this Act such as private schools and homeschooled learners. the Act nevertheless seeks to significantly raise the school performance level of every student in public schools
Another important thing to note is that the NCBL encourages schools to use scientifically based research strategies in obtaining knowledge for students and in further strengthening the capacities of schools to spur the learning of the students. These schools can have the access to these scientifically based research strategies from various sources funded by the government. Thus. the Act does not only stimulate the schools as an abode for learning from among students. It also brings together the emphasis that the schools themselves should also be equally responsible in providing the educational needs of the students and in meeting the sufficient and exemplary standards in education (Monk ,
There are at least two competing sides for and against the NCLB offering compelling reasons why to continue with and why to abolish the Act. At the most. the competing sides of pros and cons have their own merits. At the least. these two sides give us a brief yet succinct overview of what the NCLB is all about and. eventually. allow us to take a position
As for the pros of the NCLB. it can be said that the Act indeed improves the test scores of students in the National Assessment of Educational Progress specifically in the areas of math and reading Moreover. it can also be argued that the NCLB actually exceeds the efficiency and effectiveness of certain local standards in the education sector. This is because the NCLB. being a national act. gives students fair chances of experiencing the same teaching standards even when the student transfers from one state to another. It eliminates the chances where a student who has just enrolled in a local school after moving-in to the a rural area would have to make educational adjustments specifically in the classroom setting if only to be acquainted with and survive the school life in another place (Jacob ,
The NCLB is also said to.
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No Child Left Behind
As students in a Structure & Philosophy class, one of the main components has been to introduce and familiarize us with the No Child Left Behind Act. President Bush passed this legislation on January 8, 2002. The NCLB Act was designed to ensure each and every student the right to a fair education, to give parents more options in their child’s education, and to guarantee all teachers are highly qualified. By highly qualified, the act means teachers must have at least a bachelor’s degree, have full state certification or licensure, and have demonstrated competence in their subject areas (US Dept. of Education).
“Making the Grade,” which was published in the Salt Lake Tribune in September of this year, is an article arguing the negative sides of the No Child Left Behind Act. Through this article, a majority of the discussion regarded the budgeting involved with NCLB. This article calls No Child Left Behind a “one-size-fits-all formula for improving education in America” (Making the Grade). According to President Bush, the NCLB Act is “’the cornerstone’ of his administration” (Salt Lake Tribune). Like with any legislation, however, come both positive and negative sides.
As argued in “Making the Grade,” the No Child Left Behind Act seeks to reduce gaps in testing areas that have allowed kids to advance without having high-quality skills in subjects such as math and reading. By discovering what kids are slipping through the gaps in testing, it will be easier for schools to aid these students and make sure they are not left behind. Other main goals of this act include to find teachers who are not well educated in the subjects they are currently teaching, and to locate those schools who fail t.
. middle of paper.
. Act highly overweigh the few negative sides of the act, such as the supposed lack of funding as pointed out in “Making the Grade.” With time and patience, I feel everyone will see the benefits of this act and will be supportive of a brighter future of education in the US.
“Making the Grade.” Salt Lake Tribune. 14 Sept. 2003. 30 Oct. 2003.
US Department of Education. Choices for Parents. 8 November 2003. http://www.ed.gov/nclb/choice/index.html?src=ov
US Department of Education. No Child Left Behind. 8 November 2003.
US Department of Education. No Child Left Behind. 8 November 2003.
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