In January 2002 congress, with the encouragement of President Bush, passed a new act that was intended to prevent children from being left behind in education. No Child Left Behind is designed to change the culture of America's schools by closing the achievement gap, offering more flexibility, giving parents more options, and teaching students based on what works. This was and is a great idea. Children are our future and we need to make sure they get all the opportunities education can give them. The No Child Left Behind Act of 2001(NCLB) is a well intentioned yet fundamentally flawed piece of legislation.
"No Child Left Behnd is based on testing, blaming and punishing," explained Lisa Guisbond, co-author of the FairTest report. "a more helpful accountability system would focus first on building the capacity of teachers, schools and districts to ensure that all children receive a high quality education that meets their individual needs." Core elements of the accountability systems FairTest proposes to better promote school improvement include: use of multiple forms of evidence of student learning, not just test scores; extensive professional development that enables teachers to better assess and assist their students; incorporation of ongoing feedback to students about their performance to improve learning outcomes; public reporting on school progress in academic and non-academic areas, using a variety of information sources and including improvement plans; the sparing use of external interventions, such as school reorganization, to give reform programs the opportunity to succeed. "Assessment systems need to make public school accountable to parents, students and the local community rather than to distant government bureaucracies," Neill explained(www.FairTest.org).
High standards for the students as well as educators are quality goals for our nation; however, using standardized testing to measure our success is not the most effective method. Having high standards is a necessary part of our nation's success in today's global community. It sets a high level of accountability and provides clear benchmarks for both the students and educators. Those schools that are categorized as performing poorly are required to have supplemental assistance like tutoring, after school programs or even to go as far as replacing the teachers completely. Schools risk being restructured or even taken over by the state if after five years of not making adequate yearly progress. On the other hand standardized testing is an ineffective way of assessing individual student performance. This type of testing gives reason to teach according to what is going to be on the test rather than for authentic learning. When using standardized testing there is no room to account for the different learning styles and strengths of each student. Everyone learns differently but with this type of testing, with its multiple choice and simple rubrics, does not allow for individuality, according to Janice Snyder (May 2007, associated content website). NCLB believes that boosting standardized test scores should be the primary goal of schools, this assumption leads to the one-size-fits-all teaching aimed primarily at test preparation, and it works against efforts to give all children a high-quality education.
NCLB provides report cards on the schools progress so that the parents know how their school is doing as well as it allows parents to make an education decision when it comes to their children's education. NCLB does provide for much needed innovation in education and allows parents unprecedented choice in the education of their children but it may jeopardize the success of traditional public schools, with such things as promoting charter schools. It provides a testing ground for innovative ideas and programs in education. However the amount of money needed to fund the charter schools serves relatively few students and spends money that could benefit more...
References: nyder, J. (2007). The No Child Left Behind Act Fails to Deliverhttp://www.associatedcontent.com/article/233998/the_no_child_left_behind_act_fails.html?cat=37Hess, G. (2006). No Child Left Behind (NCLB): Flaws and Failureshttp://www.associatedcontent.com/article/51839/no_child_left_behind_nclb_flaws_and.html?cat=4
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