The No child Left Behind Act is a reauthorization law which was enacted by a former President George Bush with the main aim of facilitating improved quality education in the United States. It is a flagship of elementary and secondary education Act of 1965. Like any other law, The No Child Left Behind Act has faced criticisms and support among various partisans. ,There are reform proposals put forward to allow the inclusion of various elements as well as the exclusion of those elements that have since remained controversial. This paper critically discusses The No Child Left Behind Act highlighting the reasons as to which people could be opposing or supporting the act and the current status and proposed changes to the act.
Diehl (2006) noted that The No Child Left behind Act was a bill enacted in 2002 by the then president George Bush. It entailed the reauthorization of the elementary and secondary education Act that had first been passed in 1965. As an Act, it is basically a law that constitutes the government flagship of standardized based education reforms assistance for disadvantaged students. It gives each state the mandate to set its own assessment standard measure that is adhered to by all schools directly under it. This act virtually aimed at all public schools even though with a particular focus on the needy students. Kucerik (2002), on the other hand, observes that the 2002 act has a number of sections that are to help ensure its success. These include annual testing, academic progress, report cards, teacher qualification, reading first grant program, and the funding changes. However, as the law was enrolled it faced positive and negative critics from the educators, policy makers, and the general public. This paper aims at presenting a critical discussion on The No Child Left behind Act.
Pros and Cons of the Act
According to Charmayne (2011), the proponents of the act feel it has contributed a great deal to the level of education in the United States due to the increased level of accountability in schools. The No Child Left Behind Act states that any assessment aimed at measuring the standard improvement of the school must subject each public school to standardized examination. Any school that fails to measure up to this faces a punishment and reduction in funding. With such strict provisions, the supporters of this act view it as an opportunity of improving the education system. Additionally, others have also supported the act, which allows the measurement of the general student performance. Moreover, the act also makes it possible for parents to get to know of their children performance in school (Charmayne, 2011).
On the other hand, the proponents of the act believe that it provides an opportunity to measure the academic achievement of students based on their final exam scores. To an extent, this may be true as teachers will always aim at covering the curriculum delivered by the state as a way of equipping their pupils to pass exams. Charmayne (2011) notes that other critics like the heritage foundation believe that the punishment offered in schools is a source of demoralization. They argue that the act can possibly spring up stigmatization among schools that do not perform. Moreover, they argue that the reduction in funding for such schools will hamper their development (Charmayne, 2011).
Another argument advanced by the critics of the act is that standardized test to all students in the state can cause teachers to narrow down their focus on a subset of skills and not a wide range of the curriculum they would have offered students. According to Kucerik (2002), this happens because the major aim is to succeed in standardized tests. Additionally, critics believe that the standardized testing of students causes inherent cultural bias as it does not take into consideration the fact that different cultures have different skills. Charmayne (2011) notes that the critics have proposed the use of teachers’ opinion as a means of assessment of the student. They have personal contact with their students, thus they are able to provide proper assessment. Critics also argue that the act has failed to acknowledge gifts in various students because of paying much attention to the subset of curriculum.
According to my educational experience, I strongly advocate for The No child Left Behind Act of 2002. Even though I was a slow learner in my school, the act provided an opportunity for me to measure up to the level of other students. My teachers being under pressure to deliver during the annual standardized testing had to invest a great deal in my academics and this would not be possible if the act was not enacted. The teachers were concerned about all the students which was quite commendable. Again, with such dedicated teachers, our school performance was annually improved.
Current Status and Reform Proposals to the Act
Currently, the enactment of The No Child Left Behind Act is under way among various states. However, it is important to note that despite reforms advocated by its opponents, it has routinely enjoyed reauthorization in the congress (Charmayne, 2011). However, there are various changes that are being proposed in order to ensure that this act wholly fit and benefit the American child. For example, the Joint Organizational Statement on the act is rallying to ensure major changes are made on the federal education system. Charmayne (2011) observes that the forum on educational accountability which is a branch of the later proposes the shifting of sanction laid upon schools that fail to pass the standardized testing. It has instead voiced its support for the need for government to support such schools in order to improve their standards.
Equally, President Obama proposed specific reforms to the act on March 2010. The reforms entailed increased provisions of funds in order to enable states to provide a wider range of academic assessment. He has also been advocating for the use of technology and the need for further scientific research by students to enhance education. Despite his plan to improve standardized testing, the President has continued to advocate for the legislation to reduce the punishment put on schools, which failed to hit the target.
In conclusion, No Child Left behind Act presents a worthwhile federal education system that with slight modification can help revolutionize the American education system.