No Child Left Behind

2277 WordsJul 8, 201810 Pages
In the case of No Child Left Behind (NCLB), is politics the enemy of problem solving? By examining selected political controversies surrounding NCLB, it will be demonstrated that politics is the enemy. Since NCLB’s enactment, vast amounts of research literature and news stories have been published on its effects, which demonstrates the impact and debate generated by this law. The major goals of this bipartisan legislation were to improve student performance through standardized testing by using data from annual test scores to measure each students’ and schools’ progress; to close the achievement gap between disadvantaged students and their better-off counterparts; and to hold teachers and schools accountable. All these actions were to…show more content…
The aim is to “fix” low-performing schools. Schools and teachers would be held accountable, for low performance and the law was considered by many to be overly punitive rather than supportive (Jost, Ravitch). AYP leads to the next criticism of an NCLB outcome: “narrowing of the curriculum.” Because so much depends on how schools fare on these “high stakes tests,” in many schools, especially low-performing schools, fewer subjects are being taught, so more emphasis can be put on teaching reading and math and less time is being spent on developing children’s problem solving and critical thinking skills (Ravitch, Stecher, et.al.). Furthermore, to make room for honing test-taking skills, less time is being spent on teaching subjects in general. This practice is often referred to “teaching to the test.” The fact that too much time is spent working on practice tests is more than likely an unintended consequence of the law. Not only have schools modified their curriculum, but also states have adjusted their educational standards so that they are able to achieve NCLB’s requirement of AYP of 100 percent proficiency. Students “fell victim to what many observers called the school districts’ decisions to “dumb down” the standards for measuring proficiency. It’s a lot easier to push down your

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