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The Child Left Behind - Essay Example

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21 November 2011. The Child Left Behind The No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Act has brought a revolution in the American education system. According to this Act, “by 2005, every state must give an annual math test and reading test to all students in grades 3-8” (Johnson and Johnson ix)…
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The Child Left Behind
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The Child Left Behind

The increased emphasis that the NCLB Act places on the subjects of math and reading undermines the importance of all other subjects that are either equally or more important for the inculcation of the required academic and professional skills in the children. The goals that schools in conventional practice set for the students are not limited to the inculcation of general reading and math skills but also extend to the development of appropriate critical thinking skills, emotional intelligence, conflict resolution, self-discipline and the health and safety habits in the students. When there are sanctions to threaten the schools just in case they do not meet their expectations with respect to one particular goal, the schools are bound to have their attention diverted from the rest of the goals that are equally or more important than that one goal. Having been educated in the NCLB culture, my knowledge of or skill in arts, science, music, social studies and exercises is close to negligible. This is so because my teachers could not afford to spend time on such subjects because they feared they would have to face the most unfavorable consequences if they did. The problem of goal distortion has been recognized at various levels. Even the former education assistant secretaries Diane Ravitch and Chester Finn have realized the negative impact of overemphasis on one area upon the others. They said, “[If NCLB continues,] rich kids will study philosophy and art, music and history, while their poor peers fill in bubbles on test sheets. The lucky few will spawn the next generation of tycoons, political leaders, inventors, authors, artists and entrepreneurs. The less lucky masses will see narrower opportunities” (Ravitch and Finn cited in Rothstein). NCLB assesses the students’ learning from the annual test which can in many ways be quite misleading. On certain days in the year, a child’s performance may be outclass while on others, his/her performance may be below average. It is not just the studies that are there in a child’s life after all. The child may be upset because of some familial reason. The child may not be feeling well on the exam day. There can be hundreds of reasons for the declined performance on certain days. Taking this into consideration, there is dire need for multiple retesting in order to have an accurate assessment of the child’s learning. In addition to that, the number of subgroups in a school also has an impact upon the child’s academic performance. The margin of error for the academic achievement of a subgroup is enhanced because of the smaller size of the subgroups in a school in comparison to a full-grade cohort. Accountability becomes increasingly inaccurate as the subgroups in a school integrate in increased numbers. Students cannot be sure that all students are proficient at the challenging level as is expected of them even if the math and the reading are paid excessive attention towards. The variability in human nature and skills prevents such proficiency irrespective of the disparities originating in the socioeconomic statuses of the students. The normal intelligence quotient (IQ) of the humans that accounts for about 66.66 per cent of the total human population starts from 85 and ends at 115 (Rothstein). What the ... Read More
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