No Child Left Behind: Good in Theory, Bad in Practice

Topics: Education, Standardized test, High school Pages: 9 (3215 words) Published: January 29, 2007
Education has always been an important trademark of the United States of America. Throughout the years, the significance of a well-developed education has been increasing. Recently, the government has increased its role in the education system by passing the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001. By doing this, the government can ensure that each and every student is receiving the best education possible so that no student falls behind. With the importance of education constantly increasing in this country, it is absolutely necessary that all students receive a quality education. The No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 is a well-intentioned law passed by President Bush to ensure that all students are finding success in school. While the law has many good points, it is better in theory than in practice. In all actuality, the No Child Left Behind Act may be causing America's students more harm than good.

No Child Left Behind (NCLB) was put into affect to make sure that all students are proficient by 2014. Because of this lofty goal, the government's role in education has been redefined and higher standards have been made for students to meet. NCLB was designed to help close the achievement gap between disadvantaged/minority students and their peers by investing in the needs of every child. Too many children were being left behind in school and possibly even graduating without ever really knowing or understanding anything they were taught, so President Bush stepped in. To stand as a basis for the government's reforms, four pillars were created. These pillars include stronger accountability for results, more freedom for states and communities, proven education methods, and more choices for parents.

The government wants to hold each and every state and school district accountable for the proficiency of their students. According to the accountability provisions of the law, each state and school district is responsible for providing a plan to close the achievement gap between students. They are required to present an annual report card to inform parents and communities about the progress each state and school district is making. Schools that are struggling to make progress must provide additional services to help the students succeed, such as free tutoring or after-school assistance. If they are still not making Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP), the school district must make remarkable changes or the school will be considered failing (US Dept. of Education).

The No Child Left Behind Act grants more freedom to states and communities. This means that school districts can use up to 50 percent of their government allocated funds to improve the areas in which they struggle. School districts have the choice of using the funds given to them for the purpose they were received, such as Educational Technology grant, or transferring the funds to areas in which they see fit. This allows each school to utilize all of their funds to best suit their personal needs rather than having an overabundance of money allocated to an area that is already well-developed. Because of this freedom, schools may choose to hire new teachers, raise teacher salaries, or improve teacher training and professional development. Schools can now do as they see fit to make their school the best it can be (US Dept. of Education).

Since NCLB is based on improving student success in all areas, an emphasis has been placed on researching which programs and practices have been proven effective. Government funds are then granted to the programs that work so that they may continue to improve student learning and achievement. The new law gives parents a number of options if schools do not gain new programs to help their students achieve. If a child is attending a school that is considered in need of improvement, parents are allowed to have their student see a free tutor at the school or even transfer their child to another school that is performing at higher...

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