In Theory: the No Child Left Behind Act

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In Theory: The No Child Left Behind Act

The No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 (often referred to as No Child Left Behind) was a landmark in education reform designed to improve student achievement and change the culture of America's schools. President George W. Bush described this law as the "cornerstone of my administration" (Department of Education). It allows low-income families, whose children traditionally have less academic opportunities, to move to private school or specialized charter schools via a school voucher. The act was expected to introduce high standards for education, the belief that all children, regardless of class, should have equal opportunities to learn, and accountability for failing school systems. However, the act is severely flawed. The guidance for individual states has habitually been unclear, students with disabilities are often overlooked, and the funding for abiding school systems has not been implemented as promised. With these faults, more often than not, No Child Left Behind prevents children from receiving the quality of education that they need and deserve. In theory, the NCLB provides many wonderful options, but when put into practice, those options are nonexistent or flawed. This paper will explore both the positive and negative sides of the NCLB in an effort to educate and prove that there are things that can be done to improve the act.

According to the Department of Education, the NCLB "supports learning in the early years, thereby preventing many learning difficulties that may arise later" It was designed to target resources for use in early childhood education (reading, math, and language programs) that could bolster the abilities of the young student. Programs that have been implemented at schools across the country include standardized after-school math programs, Reading First, which provides grants to schools to help implement scientifically proven methods of instruction, and the Mathematics and Science...
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