When students are being trained to study for a test, their goal isn’t to be educated, it’s to pass the standard. In “No Child Left Behind,” Diane Ravitch argues the NCLB’s point of view that the schools should be closed down if all of their students aren’t proficient in reading and mathematics. “Furthermore, [NCLB’s] simpleminded and singular focus on test scores distorts and degrades the meaning and practice of education,”she says. In other words, NCLB’s demand of 100% proficiency from all students will force teachers to teach in a uniform manner that makes students only look at their test scores, not the knowledge they are supposed to acquire. Grades will have a higher priority over knowledge since “higher test scores on standardized tests of basic skills are synonymous with good education.” Ravitch uses her favorite teacher as an example. Mrs. Ratcliff was her high school English teacher who taught students character and personal responsibility on top of the literature and grammar lessons. She showed her students how literature actually connected into their daily life, which stayed with Ravitch for the rest of her life. Still, if her teacher was to be judged by the NCLB, she would be seen as a bad teacher since she didn’t give out many A’s. According to Ravitch, we need to show children that learning isn’t about worksheets, it’s about knowledge and growing. Only then will we be able to strengthen public schools, which enables us to create a stronger democracy for everyone to enjoy.
I agree with Diane Ravitch when she explains how when a student doesn’t pass a test, it’s because they haven’t prepared enough for it and that they should keep practicing till they have succeeded. Some may say that this is a strong philosophy to stand by, but is it fair to force children to keep training for a test that only shows if you are capable of studying for a test? It’s not the teachers fault; it’s their initiatives that are corrupt. Teachers try to have the students get the highest grade possible, which only comes from preparation, not understanding why sohcahtoa makes sense. When Ravitch mentions the teacher of hers that was actually able to inspire her students to love literature, I realized that her teacher taught a lesson that showed the connection between real life and the material they were learning, which is why the students remembered that lesson for so long. That is the type of lesson that any student could learn from since it would actually stay with any student into the real world by sparking a passion within in them and using that to help determine their job. Ravitch proves to the reader that the job of teachers is to educate, not to prepare us for tests. Once we are educated with useful knowledge, we can choose the path that must be taken to prepare us. Still, I agree that teachers should prepare us for the real world: a world in which kids are out by themselves, without a graded study guide to prepare us, and they have to have a sense of justice, compassion, independence, fairness, citizenship, and rationality. This, however, could never be taught by taking constant tests and studying to get an A in every class. Even though her intentions of educating all