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November 16, 2008

The State of Education in the United States

The educational system in the United States is riddled with problems, as I have observed in my Schooling and Multicultural Society Class (Education 118). No Child Left Behind (NCLB), a 2001 reincarnation of the Elementary and Secondary School Education Act of 1965, attempts to improve many of these inequities by increasing the accountability of schools for children who do not make progress every year. WrightsLaw.com provides parents with a list of key terms associated with No Child Left Behind in ‚ÄúNo Child Left Behind (NCLB) Terms Every Parent Should Know: US Department of Education‚Ä? (http://www.wrightslaw.com/nclb/info/nclb.terms.usdoe.htm). The list includes information on Title I funds, state assessments, adequate yearly progress, school in need of improvement, supplemental educational services, and highly qualified teachers. With these tools, NCLB tries to close the achievement gap (to be discussed in a later entry), which is essentially the gap between test scores. NCBL determines whether schools are measuring up by the test scores of their students. Schools that do not show enough progress are then punished with a decrease in funding.

My education class has examined many of the inequities in our educational system. We looked at the differences in the physical resources students have (such as access to technology, desks and school supplies, and a clean, safe building), and we have also looked at teacher quality, teacher expectations for their students, teacher biases, lack of administration support, and lack of accountability. It is shocking to understand the difference between the conditions a white student encounters and a minority student encounters in a school setting. The same is true for a poor student versus a rich student.

I have been very fortunate in my schooling to have access to high quality resources and teachers. I have gone to private school every year except for kindergarten, and I believe that I have received the best education possible. My parents decided to send me to private school after I repeated the majority of the material that I had learned in pre-school in my kindergarten class. Originally, they had planned for me to go to public high school, but when the time came, I was given a choice. I chose to continue in private schools. I knew, I guess, that there was a difference in the atmospheres of private and public schools, but I mostly felt that private schools best facilitated my learning style. I did not realize how many inequities there were between public and private schools, as well as within the public school system itself.

NCLB information courtesy of Elisabeth Moje’s Education 118 Class University of Michigan Fall 2008.

Thanks for reading!

Posted by ksackett at November 16, 2008 02:45 PM

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