No Child Left Behind Essay

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No Child Left Behind Essay
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  • University/College:
    University of California

  • Type of paper: Thesis/Dissertation Chapter

  • Words: 1681

  • Pages: 7

No Child Left Behind

The education policy that I chose is on education today and the influence of the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Act. In 2001, President George W. Bush signed into law the No Child Left Behind Act. The NCBL is a United States Act of Congress, which includes Title 1 (program for disadvantaged students offered by the government). This Act requires states to develop assessments in basic skills. Each state is required to give these assessments to all students to receive federal school funding. This Act does not set the standards nationwide; each individual state sets the standards. Diane Ravitch, an education philosopher was a supporter of this Act when it was being passed. She believed that every child had the right to a proper education. As the years passed she acquired more experience and knowledge on the Act, and is now completely opposed to the NCLB Act. Ravitch believes that the states dumb down the standards in light of the NCLB. The question now is: is the No Child Left Behind Act seeking to repair the problem, or is it the cause?

Under NCLB, the accountability of a child’s education is examined by the Federal government and turned into the hands of the state. This was the first time an American president has set a goal of universal proficiency in reading and mathematics for all children. The federal emphasis on literacy, reading, and mathematics emphasizes teacher and school accountability, with negative consequences when schools do not meet established improvement goals (U.S. Department of Education, 2002). Under NCLB the state must have accountability provisions that include how they will close the achievement gap. According to the Department of Education the achievement gap is defined as such; The difference between how well low-income and minority children perform on standardized tests as compared with their peers.

For many years, low-income and minority children have fallen behind their white peers in terms of academic achievement (Department of Education, 2002). States must also monitor that every student not excluding the disadvantaged achieve academic proficiency. Yearly assessments must be produced to inform parents of the progress of both the state and the community. Schools that do not meet the academic proficiency standards must offer supplemental services and take corrective action. If within five years the school is still not making yearly progress, than dramatic changes in the school’s academic direction must be made. Dramatic changes according to the Department of Education are defined as follows; “…additional changes to ensure improvement.” The definition raises the question of whether there is a plan for failure at all.

The National Assessment of Educational Progress, in its “National Report Card” shows that these goals may be falling short. Students in fourth grade show temporary improvement in math right after No Child Left Behind became a law, but returned to pre-reform growth rate. The NAEP estimates that by 2014 less than 25% of financially challenged and African American students will achieve NAEP proficiency in reading. Using the same time frame less than half the financially challenged and African American students will obtain proficiency in math. With so much pressure on the states to perform well, a trend is becoming apparent that they are inflating proficiency levels of students. This causes discrepancies between the NAEP and state assessments especially among the financially challenged, African American, and Hispanic students.

With no sufficient evidence shown on that NCLB is working, the question is as follows; is the federal government capable of running our school systems? There are undoubtedly dangers in the public school system teaching a federally mandated curriculum. When one controls people’s perception of history, one controls the present. There is, of course, a point to be made that if the nations’ children are kept in watered down public schools, positions of power will be opened to the children of the aristocracy, who without fail, are being sent to private schools.

So many of those Politicians who stand in the way of allowing poor children to escape failing schools, send their own children to private schools (sic). In New York City, where I have spent most of my professional life, both the current and the past chancellor of schools sent their children to private schools. Six of the seven members of the now-defunct Board of Education had also sent their children to private schools at one time or another. One might add to the list other notables in New York-the governor, the mayor, the leaders of both houses of the legislature, and the junior U.S. senator (and former first lady). In fact, I cannot remember a mayor of the city who sent his children to public school (Viteritti, 2003).

The reports of success of NCLB are encouraging to those who support the project. There have been schools in Sterling, Virginia and New York City that have received No Child Left Behind blue ribbons for their success in closing the achievement gap. Other schools have earned national praise for instituting such curriculum as “Fit for the Future,” a standards-based health and fitness curriculum for grades 1-10; and an anti-bullying intervention program in York, Pennsylvania (Department of Education, 2005). These programs are used to show the benefits of NCLB but are they academic necessities? The curriculum in a kindergarten class in Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin included a lesson entitled “The Little Convincer.” In which a state trooper came into the classroom with a mechanism designed to simulate a car accident.

In a discussion about car seat laws, a topic critics of the curriculum call too heady for kindergarteners, the students, ages five to six years old, were asked repeatedly which one of them were actively using car seats, and whether their parents wore seat belts as well. One child who innocently told the officer that his daddy did not wear his seatbelt was told by the trooper that his daddy could go through the windshield and the glass would cut his face and arms like ribbons, and once he hit the road, the car would roll on top of him. The dramatic lesson ended with each of the students taking a turn in the mechanism that simulated the car crash.

The officer would speak softly to the child asking them questions about their class or the clothes that they were wearing and when the child began to speak would jerk them forward violently to teach them that an accident could happen at anytime. The question is, are these academic lessons that parents assume that their children are attending school for? Is placing the curriculum in the hands of legislators going to further our children’s grasp of the three R’s as most parents hope, or are they going to be taught how to become complacent law abiding citizens?

The problem in purposing that the public school system is flawed beyond repair is offering an alternative that people are comfortable with. When a conversation about privatizing the school system begins many questions must be answered to abate the fears of the public. Would privatizing schools be affordable to all families? Many debates have waged on the validity of a voucher program, allowing families to choose any school they desire whether it is parochial, private, public, or chartered.

Without public schools, there are no taxes necessary to support the program, and that money can be returned to the families of school aged children, creating extra funds for private education. In a system of free market education the individual and specialized institutions of learning would have to compete for students, because the money would be linked to the students themselves. Never in the history of the free market have advances been made without competition. When the monopoly on our children’s future ends, a true marketplace of ideas will be born.

In an interview with US News, Ravitch was asked “What needs to happen to make the law more effective for school?” she responded “I think the main thing to change is . . . to get rid of the remedies and the sanctions because the remedies don’t work and the sanctions don’t work. What No Child Left Behind has given the United States is an atmosphere of punitiveness. The word accountability has come to be a synonym for punish. If students don’t learn, it’s the teachers’ fault. Fire the teachers. Close the schools. We’re now on a wrecking mission to destroy American public education.” Ravitch has completely rejected this Act, and believes we should do something to make our education system stronger.

I questioned? Is the No Child Left Behind Act seeking to repair the problem, or is it the cause? I now have the answer. The NCLB Act sounded very tempting as it was passed by congress, and many like Diane Ravitch had hopes in such a great project for our education system, but everything is not perfect. The NCBL offers great support to schools, although standardized testing is not the correct way of determining the amount of financial support each school deserves or requires. After long hours of research I believe that the No Child Left Behind Act has taken a part in the cause of our problem in our education system today.

Schools will not improve if the value is set only on what is tested. “The tests we have now provide useful information about students’ progress in reading and mathematics, but they cannot measure what matters most in education.” (Ravitch. The Death and Life of The Great American School System, pg. 226) In order to improve our public school system we must start by focusing on our schools, offering them an authentic and sincere education that encourages our students to learn.

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No child left behind Essay

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No child left behind Essay
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  • University/College:
    University of Chicago

  • Type of paper: Thesis/Dissertation Chapter

  • Words: 2421

  • Pages: 10

No child left behind

No Child Is Left Behind (NCLB) is a federal state act of 2001 which was proposed by the then president, George W. Bush immediately after being inaugurated in to the White House. This legal framework was aimed at ensuring that the primary and secondary education system was improved by advocating for increased accountability and transparency in its management. It further focused on the education system increased the flexibility on how parents can choose the learning institution their siblings will attend. This paper provides a broad overview of the act and it includes its history, scope, player involved challenges, among other issues.

Brief discussion of the relevant history The law was authored by John Boehner and Judd Gregg, a representative and a senator respectively from the Republican Party and George miller and Edward Kennedy, a senator respectively from the Democratic Party. It was then signed by G. W. Bush. Beside aiming at improving the performance primary and secondary education and increasing accountability, improved the focus on reading and re-authored the 1965 Elementary and Secondary Act. The act was brought forward in the 107th congress whereby it was passed in the House of Representatives and US senate on 2001, May 23rd and 2004, June 14th respectively.

It was later signed in to law on 2002, January 8th. Scope The act was brought to the lime light after realization the quality of the education being offered was directly affecting the students, parents and all the citizens at large. At the international level, since the world was becoming a global village as a result of globalization, the quality of education needed to improved since many of the Americans’ children had little hope in the future due to high levels of illiteracy and low self esteem (self doubt).

The act was of paramount essence since the US, the world largest economy needed to produce intellectuals that would transform America and the globe at large. Context (historical, political, economic, social) At the time George W. Bush introduced this blueprint, he noted that though the American was entering the 21st century with a lot of promise and hope, many of the children who were in need of education support and aid were being ignored and thereby left around. 70% of the fourth graders residing in the inner city could not read or even pass the national reading trial which involved the elementary level of education.

The senior high school student in other parts of the world, South Africa and Cyprus to be specific perform very poorly on the international mathematics test. Almost a 1/3 of the college freshmen of American origin take compulsory remedial courses prior to initiating the regular college level courses It is the responsibility of the parents, state and all the citizens to ensure that quality education is guaranteed for all the American children in order to have a bright future.

This has not been the case and the United Sates Federal Government is to be blamed for condoning the poor results and failing to address the failure in the education system. The federal government has controlled the Americans, schools since through education policies since 1965 when the first major initiative on the elementary –secondary was undertaken. Since then the federal government has established so many programs/ projects geared towards facilitation of quality education. A major drawback for these programs is that the results have not been analyzed to evaluate whether the programs achieve their objectives or not.

Another factor for the failure of the programs is that they are formulated by the congress and the locals are not consulted, as a result, local population education needs are not addressed. There have been programs that are formulated for every single education program and this had led to a pile of programs across the federal states. These programs costed the federal government hundred billions each year but quality of education on the other hand has been falling since the objectives are not being realized. This has resulted to a wide and an increasing gap between the rich and the poor in America.

Faced with this dilemma, some citizens have proposed that the federal government should not be involved the education sector. Another proportion of the population suggests that the new programs should be added to the old education system. , the federal government was therefore required to come up with effective programs and projects which would restore confidence in to the American education system. After a braining search of the best option, the federal government came up with the No Child is Left Behind policy which would transform the American education system.

During the signing of the bill, the then US president, George W. Bush said; We’ve got large challenges here in America. There’s no greater challenge than to make sure that every child — and all of us on this stage mean every child, not just a few children, every single child, regardless of where they live, how they’re raised, the income level of their family, every child receive a first-class education in America. Individuals/agencies involved including a discussion of the major decision makers

The No Child is Left Behind policy would involve a number of parties in order to transform the American education system, these entities include; o The teachers o The parents o The local citizens o The federal government The teachers will be involved in ensuring the No Child is Left Behind policy work. They will be trained to improve their quality. The schools that will perform well will be rewarded while those not achieving the expected results will be sanctioned. The federal government is expected to fund the training of school teachers and improve the schools in general.

The parents are required to monitor the performance of their children and at the same time access more information concerning the performance of his/her child from the school administration. Additional funds will be provided to the state and district schools by so that they can become more flexible. The local society is required to ensure that it provide a conducive learning environment so that the students can utilize their potential to the best of their capability (Hammond 2007). Major stakeholders involved (who the policy/issue affects, who has an interest in the policy)

Among the major stakeholders who will be involved and will be affected by the NCLB will include the students, the teachers, parent, the local authorities and the federal government. The teachers will be required to play a crucial role in ensuring that the gap between the poor and rich is closed by ensuring that they maintain high standards and accountability, offering annual academic assessment to children which will then be evaluated by the parents. The teachers are further required to give reading a priority.

The parents are expected to work closely with the teachers so that they can assist in progress of the children education. The parents’ flexibility and option for schools will also increase. The local authorities are expected to guarantee the teacher protection, promote school safety, rescue the schools from the schools that are not safe and advocate for character education. o The federal government is expected to provide funds and reward to the well performing schools and states in terms of accountability and transparency.

The government will also give the teachers some initiatives like tax deduction in order to promote their performance. The role public administrators play in the policy/issue The public administers are expected to ensure that the funds provided by the federal government are utilized in the most efficient was possible while at the same time making certain that they reach the targeted entities. The public administrators are further expected to evaluate the performance of the school.

They should also give feedback to the federal government on matter concerning the effectiveness of the No Child is Left Behind policy in meeting the academic needs of the American people (Samier, et, al, 2008). Policy alternatives and solutions Currently this is the best education program that has been formulated in the US. Proper implementation of the program will ensure that it becomes perfect since it will be evaluated from time to time. Corrective measure will be put in place to ensure that the expected results are achieved. Challenges facing policy implementation and solution

The policy is faced with a number of challenges prior to its implementation. One of major critic is on the use of standards to gauge the performance of the states and schools. The schools or each state can lower their standards so that they cam purport to have improved in their performance. This is because each state has the capacity to set its own standards. This means that the incentives and penalties (sanctions) provided by the government would end up on the hand of wrong persons. This problem therefore calls for standardization of the examination if at all there is an expectation of correct unbiased results (Uzzell (2005).

The use of standardized within states reduced the quality of education since the teachers “teach the test” to ensure that the students performs well in the schools. They, teachers, only teach the areas that are expected to be tested in the final standard exams. The standardized tests are also against Individuals With Disabilities Education Act. The tests have also been condemned of promoting cultural bias since different culture value certain skills than others. To avoid this kind of bias, the policy of standardized test should be re-evaluated in depth and a sustainable standard established (Abernathy 2007).

The issue of offering incentives to the schools performing poorly enables the schools to continue performing poorly. The schools that are rewarded after performing well in the standards test is likely to push out the poorly performing students so that hey can maintain the standards. In order to ensure that the poorly performing schools improve they should be offered with technical expertise and not financial resources. The top performing schools on the other hand should be closely monitored to ensure that the poor students are not expelled on academic grounds.

The No Child is Left Behind policy focuses manly on the core subjects, that is English and Mathematics, this has made the student to improve in these two subjects while the other broader education is lost. This therefore requires the NCLB policy to be considerate of other skills and subjects to ensure that education meets its purpose (Menken 2008). Importance of the No Child is Left Behind policy Its enables the children to understand the policies that have been implemented in the efforts to improve the quality of education in order to face the global challenges in bold.

Precisely, the understanding of this policy enables a person to understand the existing education policy’s roots, challenges and its core values. This policy is also an indication of the federal government interest in leading the global by providing its citizens with quality education which will ensure that the illiteracy level decreases significantly. The policy also explains in details the expected level of participation by all the parties involved in ensuring that it is a success. The policy also explains the importance of the accountability and transparency for any program or policy to succeed (Peterson, et, al, 2003).

Overview of the important values Irrespective of the stake holders involved in implementing this policy, is of great significance to evaluate the important values of the No Child is Left Behind policy. This policy is expected to; o Result to grades for tests o General improvement of all the standards o Increased accountability of all resources in the schools o Creating opportunity for the minority groups o General improvement of the quality of education o Offering the parent the option to select school for children o Guarantying of the federal funding Conclusion

Though the change is well formulated, it needs to be cleansed off some of the issues that are raising eyebrows. It needs to be refined to address all the children depending on their needs. The policy provides clearly detailed guidelines which will ensure that the quality of the education system in America greatly improves to solve the ever increasing global challenges. While comparing the old and the new education programs, this new NCLB is likely to have better results since it focus on all the children with emphasis on the children from the minority groups.

The local population, citizens and the federal government should ensure that the proper implementation and evaluation is carried out to make certain that the best results are achieved. As time passes by, a research should be carried out to find out area or clauses that need to be changed for upgrading of the programs.

References Abernathy Scott Franklin (2007) No Child Left Behind and the Public Schools, Michigan, University of Michigan Press, (pp 130-149). Hammond Linda D. (2007) Evaluating ‘No Child Left Behind’ retrieved on 18th, November, 2008, available at http://www. thenation.com/doc/20070521/darling-hammond Menken Kate (2008) English Learners Left Behind: Standardized Testing as Language Policy, NY, Multilingual Matters Press (pp 118-140) Samier Eugenie Angele, Stanley Adam (2008) Political Approaches to Educational Administration and Leadership, NY, Routledge, (pp 139-154) Peterson Paul E. , West Martin R. (2003) No Child Left Behind? The Politics and Practice of School Accountability, Brookings, Brookings Institution Press, (pp13-14) Smith Marilyn Cochran (2004) Walking the Road: Race, Diversity, and Social Justice in Teacher Teachers College Press (p 157)

The white house, Foreword by President George W. Bush, retrieved on 18th, November, 2008, available at http://www. whitehouse. gov/news/reports/no-child-left-behind. html The White House, President Signs Landmark No Child Left Behind Education Bill, retrieved on 18th, November, 2008, available at http://www. whitehouse. gov/news/releases/2002/01/20020108-1. html Uzzell Lawrence A. (2005) No Child Left Behind: The Dangers of Centralized Education Policy, retrieved on 18th, November, 2008, available at http://www. cato. org/pub_display. php? pub_id=3769

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