It was advocated as a way to insure that students were receiving the education they were entitled to, and not just pushing them through the motion of graduation. However, critics have contended that it is ineffectual, punitive, inflexible, and hurts minority students the most, the very one's the Act was purported to help. An evaluation of the important markers of achievement scores, drop out rate, and performance gap will show that the NCLB has left minority students farther behind, and in fact is fundamentally discriminatory in its implementation.
The NCLB was enacted with good intentions and targeted the legitimate educational problems in the public school system, but the unintended consequences have prohibited the ACT from realizing its goals. The Act was passed with bipartisan support amid much fanfare with then President Bush stating, "These reforms express my deep belief in our public schools and their mission to build the mind and character of every child, from every background, in every part of America" (cited in US Department of Education, 2002, p.9). The fundamental principles of the NCLB came after decades of debate and stress that "schools and districts work best when they have greater control and flexibility, when scientifically proven teaching methods are employed, and when schools are held accountable for results" (US Department of Education, 2002, p.9). However, after 6 years of data it appears that schools and teachers have lost their autonomy and the results are being masked and hidden through unethical accounting practices. Issues such as bilingual education are being used as a political hot button, with little regard for the students that the policies impact. Data is falsified, drop out rates soar, and the real problems go unnoticed in an air of false confidence. The situation has degenerated to the point that some states have considered abandoning the NCLB and forfeiting federal funding for education. It is of extreme importance to look at the latest data available and make an evaluation as to the future of the NCLB. It is the obligation of the citizens and legislature to assure we have an Act that works as designed and fulfills the lofty, and worthwhile, goals set by the NCLB.
One of the most focused upon characteristics of student data is what is called the 'Achievement Gap'. It is the performance gap that exists between the white students and the minority students. Traditionally, since the 1960s white students have outscored minorities at almost every level and subject due to socio-cultural and economic reasons, and the NCLB has a goal of closing this gap (Smith, 2005, p.513). However, this aspect of the NCLB is almost immeasurable. For the recent 4-year period beginning in 2004, the data required to evaluate the achievement gap only exists for 10 of the 50 states (Anderson, Medrich, & Fowler, 2007, p.549). To be measured as a minority sub-group, such as Hispanic, the school needs a minimum number of the minority students to be required to include them in the data. If the number of minority students is small, such as in a rural school, they are not required to disaggregate them in the data. Schools and districts can set this number arbitrarily and may be using it to hide minority results. According