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Will No Child Left Behind Still Rule the Education System?


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One thing is for sure: educators are very much hoping that President-Elect Obama's administration will overhaul the No Child Left Behind act. This is largely because the legislation that was so popular when it was first proposed has proved to be a large. . . we'll go with “mess" since this is a family site.

When it comes to education, the No Child Left Behind act had noble goals: make sure that students were really learning and that school districts were not getting paid to merely baby-sit kids but to actually teach them. The problem stems from how learning is judged under the act. Under No Child Left Behind, a child's education is judged solely upon his or her performance on a standardized test.

The standardized test has been used for decades to determine how well students were learning basic skill sets in individual states. Because schools are publicly funded, tax payers wanted to make sure that their teachers (who have the hardest job in the world) were earning their (tiny) salaries. Before the No Child Left Behind act, however, teachers weren't forced to teach “to the test" and were able to cover a wider variety of materials that taught students how to think. Now, after the passing of this act, students are taught how to test well.

Another criticism of the No Child Left Behind act is that it provides incentives for teachers and school districts to lower education standards to both keep their federal funding and to keep from having to push the students who do not perform well from the district altogether.

Every child deserves a quality education. Teachers are under tremendous pressure from their bosses, from the parents of the children they teach and from the students themselves. The last thing they need is to worry about repercussion if their classroom scores aren't as high as a district decides they should be. Every student learns differently and teachers should have the freedom to incorporate different learning styles into their curriculum. With No Child Left Behind, teachers have had their hands tied for six years.

This is why so many educators and education experts are looking toward Barack Obama and his administration to overhaul the act. Most understand that the intent behind the act is good-make sure students are learning-but that the actual text of the bill and its repercussions have had a detrimental effect on teachers and students alike. Teachers need to be celebrated and encouraged, not pitted against each other in some sort of cosmic “my test scores are better than yours" system.

Our entire lives depend upon the education that we receive-whether it be academic, vocational or “real life. " When any part of our education is compromised, we as individuals are compromised. Our education will help us choose our careers and be the basis upon which our lives are built. Don't we owe it to our teachers to make sure that they have the support and encouragement that they need?

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