No Child Left Behind
No Child Left Behind
Certain topics or issues in the society will always foster controversy and warrant divided opinions. In many scenarios, this takes place in issues having widespread effects on all classes and types of people. In this case, education fits well in this section. Currently, every citizen in the United States can be assumed to have gone through the state’s education system or bears children enrolled in it. Therefore, the implementation of the NCLBA (No Child Left Behind Act), arguable the states most expansive legislation on education, has ultimately elicited different opinions from United States citizens (Hollingsworth, 2007).
Act Overview/ Description
The No Child Left behind Act is an Act of Congress that was first proposed by the George W. Bush administration in 2001, subsequent to his inauguration as United States president at the time. Primarily, the NCLBA stands for standard based reform on education aimed at establishing measurable goals and setting high standards capable of improving individual results in education. The Act requires the development of basic skills assessment in state schools. States are required to give assessment tests to students dependent on the grade level to be granted federal school funding (Hollingsworth, 2007). It is prudent to understand that the NCLBA does not offer any national achievement standards; rather, individual states are responsible for this function. The NCLBA increase the federal role of national education via annual academic progress, teacher qualifications, funding changes, and annual testing.
Once the NCLBA was enacted, it drew both supporting and opposing from the citizens of the United States. In this regard, those who support the NCLBA maintain that among the positive points include increased accountability from the set standards on schools and teachers. In accordance with the Act, schools are required undertake annual assessment tests that will establish the performance of the students, whether improved or fallen (Shibley, 2005). These assessment tests determine whether the school has achieved the standards set by the Act. If the school fails to meet these standards, it faces imminent reduction of funds, in addition to other punishments, that increase accountability. Those who support this Act argue that the standards set helps schools and teachers realize the relevance of the education system and its effect on the nation.
Away from supporters of the NCLBA, those who oppose this Act argue that the encouragement of standardized testing encourages narrow subset skills from the teachers. For example, if a teacher perceives that an assessment test will include certain questions, then he or she will only focus on teaching that particular topic rather than being comprehensive (Weckstein, 2005). This behavior is referred to as teaching to the test. Teachers who use this method of teaching run the risk of misinterpreting what the tests will bring, and dismal performance would only be the result. Another criticism against this Act is that the practice of handing the same tests to all students fosters cultural bias since all states practice cultural diversity. Some argue that this system is not suitable for schools with non-English immersion settings.
In my view, I feel that the NCLBA was designed with the best interests of the students in the American education system. However, it is evident that it has its flaws in terms of the opposing facts placed against it by those who oppose. In my view, I think that the NCLB Act should be reviewed, and necessary changes be made since the Congress has powers to amend United States Acts. In support of my argument is the current situation facing the NCLBA. In this case, the Act has been subjected to various proposals aimed at raising its management standards of the education system in America. These reforms are pushed mainly by more than 130 national civil rights, advocacy, disability, civic, religious, labor, and education that signed a statement requiring changes in the federal law on education. These changes include and are not limited to proposing an end to sanctions made on schools that fail to meet the set standards. Rather, it should make systemic changes aimed at improving student learning in that school (Shibley, 2005).