No Child Left Behind Policy Analysis Paper
M. Deborah Morris
University of Memphis
November 19, 2009
The No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) was signed into law in January, 2002 by President George W. Bush. On the surface, because of bipartisan support, the act brought about, for the first time, surveillance measures to ensure that all school-aged children would receive a free, quality, public education. When researched historically we see the pattern that has emerged through policy and politics that has brought about NCLB. As a result of the acceptance of NCLB, we have created a way of viewing success in education by standardized testing, a monster in and of itself in it’s cost and ability to quantify the successful components of a good liberal education. It is necessary to understand how the Act came about, how it is being implemented, and the problems that have ensued to gain a good perspective about the philosophy and policies of the NCLB.
George Bush did not just wake up one morning, turn to Laura and say, “I got a good education and so did you, wouldn’t it be great if every school child in this country could get what we got?” The Massachusetts Law of 1642 stated as it’s goal that all school-aged children would attend school in order to learn to read and write (Hlebowitsh, 2001). The real object of the law was to educate the male children of the wealthy (Mondale, “The Common School, “ 2001). It was believed by church leaders and politicians that men would need to be able to read the Bible and political documents. Only large towns had a tax base, and so many children did not have access to public schools. Education grew in the U.S. but still violated the Declaration of Independence and Fourteenth Amendment to the US Constitution by denying minorities their civil rights, which included the right to a free quality public education. Many people believe that Brown v. Board of Education, that demanded that minorities receive a chance to attend schools previously attended only by whites, was one of the main events that set the Civil Right movement in this country into motion (Willie, 2005). Many state, especially in the south did not comply, and we found the US in the midst of the Cold War with the fear of a Soviet takeover and the launching of “Sputnik” a reason to be concerned about the type of education our children were getting. The shift from liberal arts education suddenly took a turn toward scientific and engineering curriculum. There was less emphasis on reading and writing. The 60’s began with only two percent of schools in southern states as integrated (Mondale, 2001). The Civil Rights movement the Feminist Movement gave us significant changes affecting schools. Thanks largely to President Lyndon Johnson, a series of federal educational reform bills were enacted and continues into the 1980’s. 1964-The Economic Opportunity Act (ex: Head Start)(Morrison,2003). 1965-The Elementary and Secondary Education Act (support for education programs for school-aged children from low-income families (Morrison,2003) 1972-The Title IX Act (Equal Access for female students)
1975-The Education of Handicapped Bill (Morrison, 2003).
1979-The Americans with Disabilities Act (including discrimination against children with disabilities of school age) 1979-The United States Department of Education established (Morrison, 2003)
Ronald Reagan became President in the 1980’s and his views that we fallen behind other nations educationally was underscored in a report, “A Nation at Risk. The report cited lowered standards for accommodating at-risk students. A new look at at-risk students was taken by Bill Clinton and George W. Bush, with a group of bills aimed at revitalizing the opportunity to learn to read, such as the National Literacy Act in 1991, the Ready to Learn Act, the Reading Deficit Elimination Act, and the Healthy Meals for Children in 1996.
At the state...
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