The No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Act of 2001 is a United States federal law signed into law by President George W. Bush on January 8, 2002 dealing with education. NCLB is the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) of 1965.
Bush campaigned for this act with the intention of keeping the children that were falling behind academically where they are supposed to be.
Arguments in supportEdit
The law was designed with the intent to improve U.S. primary and secondary schools by increasing accountability and standards of states, school districts and schools. It is also supposed to provide parent(s) and guardian(s) with more flexibility in choosing which schools their children will attend. Pros include:
- Provides additional funding for school resources. Federal funding for education increased 59.8% from years 2000 through 2003.
- It places an emphasis on reading, writing, math, and science achievement through a number of "core academic subjects" that include subjects as diverse as algebra and art. (citation needed)
- It ensures that a student's progress in reading and math must be measured annually in grades 3 through 8 and at least once during high school through the use of standardized tests.
The No Child Left Behind Program is an unfortunate program that compounds what is already wrong with our schools. Our public school system is already under pressure to work miracles, and more standardized tests only distract from real education.
Ironically, the best-performing class of students, those home-schooled (citation needed), have the most "liberal" education structure: they have broad freedom to work on what they wish when they wish. Our public schools have too many students to each teacher, and too many teachers more interested in their performance reviews than in the children. Dull lessons leave them hating school. What is needed is more flexibility, more involvement with teachers and other children, and more meaningful and learning-conducive projects.
Rebuttal to Arguments forEdit
1. NCLB only funds 9% of the overall requirements, with states and localities required to find the rest from other sources.
3. The "standardized tests" are designed by the states, not the federal government, so comprehensive comparisons between states that show national progress are difficult to prove.
Common ground and innovative ways to find itEdit
In the spirit of this site, below is a list of ways we can find the common ground we share on this issue. This is what we wish politicians would say about this issue. Please add your voice to this list.
- A true series of "NCLB Summits" should be held across the nation in which politicians would commit to actually listening to the people who are affected by this program - parents, teachers, administrators and even students. At these summits, only POSITIVE, constructive solutions should be offered, while any and all political posturing would be ruled out of order. To prevent grandstanding, no, they should not be filmed or televised, but the results should be released, perhaps as transcripts.
- Message to politicians: No demagoguery on this issue! Candidates should be challenged when they simply denounce or blindly praise this program.
- Political candidates who support NCLB should be asked to list three ways in which it is deficient and needs improvement, while those who oppose it should be asked to list three ways it helps contribute to the solution of better student performance. Politicians should then be asked to use this base to build a dialogue with one another to make this - or some other system - something that transcends the current debate.