No Child Left Behind Essay

Submitted By igloer
Words: 1284
Pages: 6

No Child Left Behind is Really No Child Moved Forward Robert Green Ingersoll once said, “It is a thousand times better to have common sense without education than to have education without common sense.” When Bush signed in the “No Child Left Behind” act on January 8, 2002 common sense slipped itself out of public education. The act requires schools to test students and show improvements in order to receive federal funding. Schools that don’t show improved test scores are required to offer tutoring, offer students the chance to attend other local schools, remove school officials, and bring in third party school organizers to teach and decide curriculum. The testing is decided by each state and must test reading and math skills. This causes a focus on reading and math and takes focus away from science, social studies, fine arts, writing, and language. Each state writes their own test and administers it to students in the state. States can and have made their tests easier to make it seem as if scores have improved so they can continue to receive federal type I funding. With all the focus on testing, teachers are feeling the pressure to improve scores. Instead of teaching students through interesting, enjoyable teaching methods, teachers are now teaching to the test to improve scores so the schools can keep getting funding and the teachers can stay in the schools teaching for another year. Altogether, the “No child left behind” act has hurt American schools, bringing too much focus upon testing and moving kids on to keep funding coming to schools. The act needs to be revoked in order to bring out the best in American students and in order to bring our country forward. Testing for funding causes teachers to teach to the test because administrators push for higher test scores to continue to receive funding. In an opinion poll released in December 2003, almost half of all school administrators and superintendents asked said that they believed the act was passed for political reasons or to undermine public schools and their ability to teach students ("No Child Left Behind."). The law measures schools progress with adequate yearly progress and all schools must meet adequate yearly progress requirements in order to continue to get funding. This AYP requirement was measured in percent increase in the passing rate among students. Schools that were traditionally high performing couldn’t increase the percent passing rates the way the law required and had trouble getting funding. By 2010, 38 percent of schools were not meeting the AYP requirements in the law. This is up 9 percent since 2006 when the percent of schools not meeting the AYP requirements was 29 percent. 98,817 public schools were open in America in 2010 and 37,550 (38 percent) did not meet AYP requirements so they were labeled “failing schools” (Fast Facts). The act requires 100 percent proficiency (or, 100 percent of 3rd-8th graders should be able to do on-level math and reading) by 2013-2014. Schools cannot meet this requirement and U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan said in 2011 that the failing rate would increase to 82 percent ("No Child Left Behind."). This ended up not being true, but some state did see failure rates above 50 percent. To try to curb the failing rates, teachers have started to teach to the test. Students spend time in class taking practice tests to prepare for exams at the end of the year. Instead of learning valuable math skills that will follow students for life, they learn testing skills that will follow them right until they get accepted to college, at which point the skills become useless and students are left considerably behind compared to students in other countries. The focus on the test has also lead to huge cheating scandals, such as the one that happened just recently in Georgia (Levy, Laurie). If teachers and administrators feel they must cheat to meet testing requirements to get funding, is the system really working? According