The No Child Left Behind act is something you should be concerned about. It
effectively controls what the students learn in school and how the school is run due to the
way NCLB works. However, there are massive problems with the act, and instead of
reforms to it, it needs to be completely removed.
To sum NCLB up, it just requires all schools to require students to take a yearly
standardized test. If the students do not make progress on a year to year basis, the
school’s funding is cut. While just a standardized test does not seem like too big of a
deal, the test changes the way teachers have to teach in order to meet the state
First of all, NCLB forces teachers to “teach the test.” That is focus their
curriculum based solely around what they think will be on the standardized test this year.
This obviously poses a multitude of problems. With teachers focusing solely on a single
standardized test, practical information relating to the subject is often left in the dust.
Teachers see no need to teach practical information because it will not help the student on
the standardized test. Practical information could be something as small as application the
knowledge they just learned to real life. Another problem with teaching the test stems
from teachers teaching what they think will be on the test, which can cause some
problems. For example, if a teacher taught only the basic math problems and never word
problems, then when a student sees a word problem for the first time, he will not
understand what to do.
Secondly, No Child Left Behind is just not working adequately enough. This is
evidenced through schools having to work their way around the system and skew data in
order to make it seem like everything is fine. For example, with dropouts, schools can
just note the number of kids who drop out their senior year in high school, rather than just
note all the dropouts from grades 9-12. Because a kid is much less likely to drop out in
their senior year, this provides results that just look good. Secondly, the state the school is
in gets to make the test. In order to make it seem like their state is doing better, the test
can just be made easier, to feign progress. For example, recently Missouri has done just
In addition, NCLB does not award individual talented students with any kind of
incentive. The most NCLB does to award any kind of talent above passing is with an
award to the school. Even kids in Honors or AP classes, who are almost certainly not
going to fail the state standardized test, are forced to do benchmarks and still waste an
entire week to take the standardized tests. This week could be better used for studying for
AP tests rather than taking tests that the kid will obviously pass.
Lastly, politics prevents NCLB from becoming completely viable. Although
politicians have “reformed” NCLB, the act still cannot