Sophomore Honors English
19 May 2015
Many Children Left Behind
Students across the country have all been affected by No Child Left Behind Act’s demanding restraints. The No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) was meant to ensure students were not trapped in public schools that were labeled as failing--a label given to all schools that were not meeting required benchmarks on standardized tests. Historically, education has changed its foundations every decade to the “latest and greatest” ideas for advancements in learning. President George W. Bush employed former school policy administrators to build the act. The plan was to raise academic standards in reading and math in poverty stricken communities. If a school made adequate yearly progress, the government rewarded these schools with more money to continue to meet or exceed its goals the next year (Illinois State Board of Education). However, many schools were not able to meet the standards due to low budgets and not receiving any extra money from the NCLB kickbacks. They were either punished by having to raise property taxes in their communities or forced close their doors and consolidate with neighboring schools (Ellis). After that, if they did not improve, the school would be completely reformed to government standards to gain credibility within the policy (Spring 488). Many supporters believed the act gave credibility to high performing students who exceeded in reading and math; however, it excluded low scoring students in order to boost test results within their districts. Standardized tests, the lack of funding, and teaching to the test all contributed to NCLB’s failure and every attempt should be made to avoid making these same mistakes in the future.
Many regarded NCLB as a great program that gave deserved credibility to high performing students and schools who exceeded in reading and math. Creating these high standards with little monetary support made this argument invalid and unfair. While standardized tests were originally established to pinpoint individual learning problems and track improvement, they have mainly become a tool used to penalize and close schools that were the most in need of help. These tests have also been used as a tool to force students into separate programs that were helpful to some but not everyone (Hayes 164). This act was formed for school districts with the intention of helping and being a positive manner in education; however, it took a different direction when the results were not what the act supporters expected. Government policy pressured students to do well on advanced, standardized tests; which made schools an unhealthy, competitive based environment.
These high standards are the results of government officials becoming involved in the education system. Thus, “The law assumes that the schools are bubbling over with disconnected kids who are eager to escape, but that assumption is probably wrong” (Ravitch and Chubb 53). Government officials do not work or spend enough time understanding the school system nor the students who are supposed to be benefitting from decisions they make. When these “beneficial” ideas do not work as previously planned, who is to blame? The schools are then punished for decisions they played no part in making. Those who have studied the school system and education administration are often not asked for suggestions regarding what would be of assistance. For example, teachers could not fulfill the needs of the legislature branch because they are not educated on how the normal government itinerary should work. Society needs to realize that the programs that were originally designed to advance opportunities were lacking due to the reluctance of establishing limits of federal action within the American education system (Ravitch and Chubb 56). The limit should end at which point education administration professionals should be creating and evolving a policy that would benefit the school