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No Child Left Behind - Research Paper Example

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The No Child Left Behind Act: Boon or Bane? Education is considered to be a right and not a privilege. Children deserve high quality education to prepare them in their future as contributing citizens to society. The government of the United States of America has been known to be an advocate of education for all…
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No Child Left Behind
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No Child Left Behind

• Teachers are either inadequately skilled or lack the motivation to inspire students to higher levels of learning. • Local communities, school board members, and superintendents do not know what their students should be learning or to what degree they should be learning it. • Accountability through testing will pressure the system to improve. (Ramirez: 205) Thus, the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) was signed into law in January, 2002 to replace the 1965 Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA). The NCLB upholds four main principles that envisions the following outcomes: (1) stronger accountability for student academic performance, i.e., tougher state standards for students; (2) increased flexibility and local control over school operations i.e., flexibility in the way states spend federal dollars; (3) expanded school choice options for parents, i.e., parental choice in those schools labeled as ‘chronically’ failing schools; and (4) an emphasis on effective teaching methods, i.e., focusing resources in proven ‘research-based’ approaches (Gibbons and Paige as cited in Gardiner, Canfield-Davis & Anderson: 143). In an effort to raise the standard of education in the United States, the NCLB required public schools to test all third and eighth-grade students annually in Reading and Mathematics and to sort test results by race, socioeconomic status, disability and English proficiency. This is to identify where achievement gaps are prevalent. NCLB targets the end of the 2013-2014 schoolyear to have all students become proficient in both Reading and Math (Ravitch: 5). Consequences for schools that do not show progress towards NCLB’s goals of 100% proficiency in all groups identified (racial, economic, ability and English proficiency groups) are stringent. If the school continues to fail to make its “adequate yearly progress” (AYP) for any group, their students are given an option to either leave the school or enroll elsewhere. On its third year of failure, the students are entitled to free tutorial sessions after school hours. If in the following years, the school still continues to fare poorly, then government may convert it into one run by private management or turn the school into a chartered school, dismissing all its staff and turning it over to the state (Ravitch: 5). Thus far, NCLB has provided disappointing results, earning the criticism of many. In 2009, Ravitch reports that the latest release of scores from the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) showed no evidence of the effectiveness of NCLB because no significant improvement was noticed in the scores. Achievement gaps between groups of students were still maintained. U.S. students scored well behind their international counterparts in Asian countries. Math and Science scores improved since these were the subjects emphasized by the curriculum in preparation for the national tests, however, Science scores lagged behind. This proves that since NCLB only considered Math and English as the basic subjects that students needed to be proficient in, it has neglected to give attention to non-tested subjects such as Science, History, Civics, the Arts and geography (Ravitch:5) Achievement gaps still persist notwithstanding NCLB’s mandate to upgrade educational standards for all students. Finkel (n.pag) analyses why Black students still get left behind their white peers in achievement rates, blaming it on hostile and alienating environments. ... Read More
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