Functionalism, Conflict, and Interactionism

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The “No Child Left Behind” Act
The Effects of “No Child Left Behind” on Special Education and General Education Collaboration & Outcomes: A Qualitative Study

The “No Child Left Behind” Act

The Effects of “No Child Left Behind” on Special Education and General Education Collaboration & Outcomes: A Qualitative Study

The primary aim of this research paper will be to determine how NCLB program impacts special education students, general collaboration and educational outcomes. NCLB was introduced by the Bush Administration in 2001 with the intent of improving the performance of sub groups and special populations in educational institutions across the nation. It is a revision of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, and considered by many a “potent blend of new requirements, incentives, and resources” that poses a “significant challenge for states” (ECS, 2004).

The act basically sets deadlines that require states to expand the “scope and frequency of student testing, revamped accountability systems” and guarantee that teachers are qualified to instruct students in the subject areas they teach in (ECS, 2004). On paper the act seems like it would benefit educational institutions tremendously. NCLB also requires that states make “demonstrable progress” in the arena of standardized testing, and asks educators to ensure that a certain percentage of students are proficient in key areas including reading and math (ECS, 2004).

With regard to special education students and other sub-groups, the intent of the act is to narrow the gap that currently exists in many schools between disadvantaged students and advantaged students (ECS, 2004).

Despite the good intentions of the law there is a lot of controversy surrounding the act, particularly with regard to its efficacy and impact on special education students and members of other subgroups. Many schools are also struggling to simply comply with the basic requirements of the act, given the short amount of time given to educators to revise their programs (Young, 2003).

The focus of this paper will revolve around how NCLB impacts special education students and classroom structure, in addition to examining the deficits in NCLB programming with regard to special education students. At this time there is a large body of research that focuses on the impacts of NCLB both positive and negative. Though some mention of special education students is made in many of these studies, this paper will aim to narrow the gap that exists with regard to comprehensive information regarding NCLB. Relatively few studies have focused on the impact NCLB legislation has had on specific teaching practices and attitudes among general educators vs. the attitudes and teaching practices of special education educators. Theoretical Propositions (Hypothesis) Tested

The research proposes the following with regard to NCLB:

Hypothesis 1: NCLB needs to more effectively address the needs of special education students because it does not adequately address the deficits that currently exist in teaching with regard to this population. Though NCLB was created to address the deficiencies that exist within testing scores of advantaged and disadvantaged students, the researcher believes that it fails miserable at actually addressing the deficits and mechanisms that need to be in place in order to help special education students achieve their greatest potential.

Hypothesis 2: Standardized testing is not fair for special education students. This hypothesis comes about based on literature evidence which suggests that commercial standardized testing does not adequately address the special circumstances special education students and other sub groups may face when in a testing situation (Young, 2003). The researcher will explore the extent to which standardized testing may be used effectively within an educational facility to determine the skill level of all students not just...
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