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November 27, 2008

Problems with No Child Left Behind

No Child Left Behind is a touchy subject and has been criticized heavily since it was enacted in 2001. According to “Growing Chorus of Voices Calling for Changes in NCLB” on the National Education Association website (http://www.nea.org/esea/chorus1.html), one of the most important problems with this act is that the bureaucrats and politicians that wrote the bill did not take into account the “recommendations by teachers, education support professionals, administrators, and others” (NEA 1).* It is interesting that those who have a limited interaction with students or teachers are trying to fix the situation. These officials do not know what is best for the classroom, because they are not there on a day to day basis. Other criticisms of the act include a heavy reliance on standardized test scores; pressure to teach to the test, not the material; lack of funding to implement the proposed articles; and it does not address problems in the classroom such as students who do not speak English or classroom size.

Besides not focusing on the opportunity gap, I think that one of the most critical problems with No Child Left Behind is that the law does not focus on the needs of individual students, but instead on how the school as a whole performs. NCLB does not address issues of overcrowded classrooms. Therefore, students are still stuck in classrooms with twenty-nine other students and one overworked teacher. Under this system, students do not receive individualized attention, and many times, do not have their work evaluate thoroughly either. Therefore, I think that NCLB needs to take into account this type of issue to actually improve the system.

In addition to a lack of individualized attention, the curriculum is increasingly more focused on math, science, and what is known as the traditional curriculum. With this focus, there is less emphasis on the arts and other subjects that may be more interesting to students. Many children are not naturally proficient in math and science, but are talented in other areas such as music, dance, the fine arts, writing, or another subject not considered a part of the traditional curriculum. Many times, these students are labeled as struggling because of inadequacies in math and science, and under No Child Left Behind, the abilities that they do possess are not necessarily recognized. Therefore, they are led to believe that they are underachieving students, when the case might just be that they excel under other circumstances.

Thanks for reading!

Cartoon courtesy of http://mmsdamps.files.wordpress.com/2008/02/nclb-cartoon.gif.

** Quote taken from NEA website. http://www.nea.org/esea/chorus1.html.

Posted by ksackett at November 27, 2008 11:15 AM

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