Pragmatism as an Effective Strategy in Achieving the Goals of Nclb

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Pragmatism as an Effective Strategy in Achieving the Goals of NCLB

I. I. Introduction
Unlike most countries, the United States does not have national education standards, no single set of expectations for what all American teachers should teach and all American student should learn. [1]

President Obama has expressed repeated concerns that our country is in jeopardy of losing its number one spot as a global leader. Countries like China, India and Germany are gaining ground as leaders in Science, Math, Engineering and Technology. President Obama pointed out that the nation that educates its children the best would be the nation that leads the global economy in the 21st century.[2] During his Presidential campaign, Senator Obama described the current situation in educating our citizens as a defining moment in history.[3] In addition, he outlined a solution that took a three-pronged approach that addressed k-12 education, preschool preparation and postsecondary school education. “The US President said since he took over the presidency, his administration has been doing everything it can to make that kind of education possible, from the cradle to the classroom, from college through a career.”[4]

Since the election, President Obama has taken some affirmative steps toward revamping the current system. In September of 2010, he launched an initiative called

“Change the Equation” that collaborated CEOS of major Corporations with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the Carnegie Corporation in order to increase student interest in Science, Technology Engineering and Math subject areas. In addition, The President has submitted his blueprint for changes to the current No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) that congress reauthorized under George W Bush in 2001. In this blueprint, President Obama identifies the drop in college completion rates for the United States from first to 11th place over the last generation.[5] He sets a lofty goal of leading other Nations again by the year 2020. [6] Similar to the current NCLB Act the blueprint identifies the need for state developed common standards that build toward college readiness, so that students do not need to take remedial courses college courses to learn material that was not mastered in High School. [7]

This paper will explore whether the current reauthorization of the NCLB Act will be effective in achieving its purpose under President Obama’s more pragmatic leadership style and possible implications of choosing another approach.

II. The Elementary and Secondary Education Act

A. ESEA as a Means to Address the Achievement Gap caused by Poverty and Discrimination

In 1965, President Lyndon B. Johnson passed the Elementary and Secondary education Act as part of a plan to improve the educational outcomes of disadvantaged children. As a former teacher of poor Hispanic students, Johnson saw first-hand how poverty excluded a large segment of the population from receiving the benefits of a public education. ESEA infused significant amounts of federal money into state educational programs. In 1964, Johnson signed into law the Civil Rights Act, which allowed the federal government to withhold funds from educational institutions that refused to desegregate schools. [8] The funding acted as a carrot to get states whose educational programs where not in compliance with federal civil rights laws to comply. It also created many additional programs intended to help disadvantaged students benefit fully from public education. Congress has reauthorized ESEA every five years since its enactment.[9]

The Goal of ESEA is to ensure that all children have a fair, equal, and significant opportunity to obtain a high-quality education and reach, at a minimum, proficiency on challenging State academic achievement standards and state academic assessments. [10] One of the most important and controversial ways that the statute attempts to accomplish this goal is...
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