The No Child Left Behind Act was an initiative of President George W. Bush and it was signed into law in 2002. This Act mandates that teachers must be highly qualified and that all students must proficient by the end of 2014. This applies to all states with the aim of improving the quality of education in America. There have been numerous controversies surrounding the NCLB Act in terms of its implementation and its consequences. As much as there re those who feel that this Act has proven effectual, many teachers, parents and some states, claim that the NCLB is ineffective.
Those opposing the Act say that it has not improved education as teachers have been forced to prepare their students for tests, which has made the learning process boring and reduces the student’s learning desire (Carman, 2005). This preparation has also contributed to the neglect of other subjects as emphasis is only placed on mathematics and English. Students of Hispanic and African American background fail to graduate on time. This system applies pressure to schools in poverty-stricken regions, as they have to measure up to the other privileged schools. The use of tests that is advocated by the Act denies the students the required critical thinking skills for their careers. NCLB does not allow for equity between students with disabilities and those with mild disabilities. The system spends too much time trying to improve the performance of poor achievers and neglects those that perform exceptionally well and come from poor backgrounds. The individual needs of each student are also neglected because all students are expected to achieve similar grade standards (Alexander & Alexander, 2011). The penalties enforced on failing schools are too harsh and need to be lessened in order to promote equity (Hewitt, 2006). The fact that education is governed by the federal government makes it impossible for local communities to intervene and voice their opinions. Such communities consist of low-income earners and therefore their voices are not considered strong enough to have any impact on the education of their children.
Proponents of the Act argue that thanks to NCLB children with the most needs are catered for and their performances improved. More time needs to be allocated to the system in order to let it work. Thanks to this law, the American education system has significantly improved as more students are provided with the opportunity at a good education. The quality of teaching has also improved as teachers focus more on their instruction delivery than was the case before (Kimmelman, 2006). The pressure mounted on the teachers and schools ensures that only the best education is offered to the students. NCLB has enabled the federal government to get more information on educational progress from schools all over the country, which makes it efficient for them to allocate the right funding to the right schools and monitor the schools. Emphasis on mathematics and reading provides the foundation to teach other subjects therefore it is a good place to start the education process (Blank et al, 2003).
As I carried out this research, I found hard to believe that there are people against the No Child Left Behind Act. Before the research, I always assumed that the No Child Left Behind Act did not apply to all the states and schools however during the research I learnt that all the states in the country operate under this law. This discovery made me realize that the education system in America advocates for and addresses the needs of the students and their teachers. My questions about the recent improvement in the education sector in America were answered thanks to this research.
Alexander, K., & Alexander, M. D. (2011). American public school law. Belmont , Calif.: Wadsworth Cengage Learning.
Blank, R. K., Langesen, D., Laird, E., Mello, V. B., & Council of Chief State School Officers. (2003). Meeting NCLB goals for highly qualified teachers: Estimates by state from survey data. Washington, D.C: Council of Chief State School Officers.
Carman, T. (2005). Strength-based teaching: The affective teacher, no Child Left behind. Lanham, Md: ScarecrowEducation.
Hewitt, T. W. (2006). Understanding and shaping curriculum: What we teach and why. Thousand Oaks, Calif: Sage Publications.
Kimmelman, P. (2006). Implementing NCLB: Creating a knowledge framework to support school improvement. Thousand Oaks, Calif: Corwin Press.