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Teaching to No Child Left Behind: Forgetting Education - Essay Example

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No Child Left Behind, or NCLB, offered a promise to American parents. Every child would receive the same education, regardless of class or creed. All children would leave the public education system with the skills required by colleges and employers. No longer would our public educational system lag behind most other industrialized countries…
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Teaching to No Child Left Behind: Forgetting Education
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Download file to see previous pages It has succeeded in making every school district focus on the same thing: making adequate yearly progress. School boards, administrators, and teachers have all had to turn their focus from educating the next generation to meeting performance requirements. Ensuring each child receives the education he needs has been lost in a quagmire of regulations aimed at meeting the under-funded mandate.
NCLB required each state to establish a baseline and proficiency standards for math and reading that all students in their state would be required to meet by 2013-2014 ("Adequate Yearly Progress"). School districts which do not meet the standards receive the "in need of improvement" label ("Adequate Yearly Progress") and face yearly sanctions (Barlow). School districts already struggling to meet the needs of a diverse student body were now faced with trying to achieve standards on the same or reduced budgets. Tough decisions were needed.
Unfortunately, many school districts scaled back their science, social studies, and arts curricula, especially in elementary classrooms (Bracey). Teachers now spend the first quarters of the year trying to expose students to all the information needed for the test, but there is not enough time for in-depth discovery (Jehlen). If a child is not able to keep pace with the class, she is referred into remedial classes, which do little more than teach in the same manner as the regular classroom (Bracey). During the tutoring, the students are removed from physical education, music, art, and library (Bracey).
Neglecting the total education of children will only come back to haunt America. In order to preserve our technological advantage, the educational system must produce well-rounded employees with a strong background in science. Education and business leaders agree on the importance of this issue, even if the general public is not aware how far America has slipped below other industrialized nations in math and science (Hunt). Improving NCLB and our educational system is the daunting task faced by the U.S. Department of Education. There are many points of view on how to address these needs.
The Department of Education and the current administration admit much is needed to improve students' mathematical and scientific ability, but they remained focused on testing as the key to the solution. In a recent interview, U.S. Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings admits there are a wide variety of causes to the current educational crisis, ranging from ineffective teaching methods, lack of qualified instructors, and socio-economic diversity amongst students and school districts (Herman). Knowledge of the some of the major causes is not enough to encourage a redirection of funds for improvement. Instead the administration still proposes more data gathering from schools and a national voucher system which will pull funds away from non-proficient schools (Herman). The Bush administration still focuses on dismantling communities by eliminating the only social organization left in some areas, not helping to create the centers of growth needed.
Others also acknowledge there are many improvements needed for the American educational system; however, they have different ideas than the administration on how to accomplish the task. Most agree testing is a means of ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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