The “No Child Left Behind Act” is a set offederally funded education initiatives in order to close performance gaps inthe education system. The bill promotes providing all students with equal andunbiased opportunity for their education. This bill is implemented in schoolsacross all fifty states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico making it oneor the most important and famous education bills today. Each student in Americais tested by the standards of the No Child Left Behind Bill frequently throughouttheir school career.
Since 1965 its estimated that the United States has spentapproximately three hundred twenty-one billion dollars on education initiativesto aid disadvantaged students. However, studies have concluded that onlythirty-two percent of fourth graders can read at their grade level’s standards.Inlight of this, both parties have now started pushing for reforms on thearguments that the bill has not been enforced effectively. Many believe thatthe testing from the law has caused less time to be spent on subjects otherthan math and reading thus, pushing students into a less well-rounded educationthat’s not preparing them for college or a career. Many believe that the lawneeds to be reformed and aimed back at its original goal which is to provideaid for disadvantaged students. These disadvantaged students and schools shouldbe pinpointed and receive specific aid for their own personal success needs.Studies done have shown that to ensure the original outlines of the law itwould cost approximately seven billion dollars, while the budget for the Billonly authorizes four hundred million.
This makes reforming the law morerelevant than ever in order to ensure the students of our Nation an equal andwell-rounded education that will give way to college and fulfilling careers. The No Child Left Behind federally requires each state toinaugurate state and academic standards and a rigorous state testing system toensure the success of all students. The bill gained bipartisan support when it wasfirst implemented by President George W. Bush who signed it into law on January8, 2002. States are required to give these tests in the subject’s math andreading from grade three to eight and once in high school.
Accountability, flexibility, research-basededucation and parent options are the four main objectives are outlined in theBill as guidelines for the states to help children be more successful inschools and on the specific required tests. States are held accountable forstudent improvement with Adequate Yearly Processes (APY). States that did notadhere to the new bill’s requirements or that did not meet Bill’s goals were atrisk of losing their Title One funding. Title One was created under theElementary of 1965 and Secondary Education Act and provided federal funding toschools for disadvantaged students. Although these requirements were not mandatory the States were motivatedto adhere to them in sight of losing funding because Title One was now beingconnected with the No Child Left Behind Act.
Sincethe law was put into effect in 2002 similar problems have started to arise fromschools over the fifty states. Thelaw has increased the growing impact the Federal government has on stateschools, which is in the regulation of the state. Some believe that No ChildLeft Behind is unconstitutional because it’s ideally required to be handled atthe state level according to the Constitution’s Tenth Amendment. The Federal emphasis on math and reading hasnarrowed curriculums across the nation to ensure that their students would passthese mandated tests. This has caused subjects such as social studies, arts,physical education and foreign languages to be minimized in schools across thenation.
Also, the law has been greatly underfunded because the federal spendinghas never reached the exalted goals the law configures. For example, in 2015the goal for Title One was to be able to provide schools throughout the nationwith twenty-five billion dollars in aid, however, Title One was only provided withfourteen and a half billion in aid that year. The law has effectively increasedschool expenditure to about six hundred per student to provide additional aidin their instruction and educational support. With these new expenditures, westill fail to see very much return on our investment. The No Child Left Behind Law has also greatly affectedteachers in and out of the classroom. Not only are they encouraged to teach anarrower curriculum to gain high Adequate Yearly Processes, but they arerequired to take more assessments and achieve more requirements in order to beable to teach students. These new requirements have contributed to thenationwide teacher shortage.
The shortage is felt most in already limitedsubjects such as math, special education, and science. It has greatly affectedplaces such as inner city and rural areas where teachers are already hard toobtain. This new ideal teacher is known by No Child Left Behind as a “HighlyQualified Teacher”. Even with all thenew requirements in 2010 thirty-eight percent of schools had failed to maketheir targeted Adequate Yearly Processes. This number had raised fromtwenty-nine percent in 2006 and would continue to rise.
In 20011 over fiftypercent of schools in the Nation were failing to make their Adequate YearlyProcesses. These percentages were so high that they called for immediate actionand on September 23, 2011, President Barak Obama handed out waivers toforty-two states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. These waversgranted states with more flexibility from key requirements in the law in orderto gain more support for the Obama administration. His administration calledfor new reform and redesign of testing, standards, and teachers in schoolsacross the Nation. There are many solutionsto the problems No Child Left Behind is facing. Firstly, the goal of the lawneeds to be restored to what it was originally, a way to help disadvantagedstudents across the Nation by providing them additional educational support.The National Education Association has started to build plans in order torevise and improve No Child Left Behind.
Five main priorities have been set outto build a more stable foundation in order to implement progress in ourschools. Firstly, they want to create a new process for restoringaccountability and rewards for the teachers. Secondly, they would like toprovide and motivate families with ways to promote education in the home andcommunity. Thirdly, continue to keep screening potential educators in order toensure that they meet all the qualifications and thus would allow them toreduce class size and focus more on each student in a smaller classroomenvironment. They will continue to provide aid to public schools to ensure oureducators have adequate resources to teach our students. This would need more Federal Aid to bedistributed towards reducing class size and more intensive tutoring.
The tutoring and curriculum also need to be focused onmore than just passing the Federally mandated tests. This curriculum needs tobe opened if we want to provide our students with the well-rounded educationthat they deserve, and that will allow them to be successful in the future.This tutoring can be monitored by the National Assessment of EducationalProgress (NAEP). The National Assessment of Educational Progress will be ableto provide accurate studies that can see how the new reforms are helpingdisadvantaged students and how we can then improve further. Teaching standardsshould also be raised at the entrance level of teachers so that those who areentering will be able to ensure that they will be able to meet futurerequirements.
After the teachers have met these requirements they should betrusted to write their own tests and use standardized tests only for domesticpurposes with sample groups of students rather than the whole classroom. Mosthigh performing nations do not test each student each year. By reducing thesize of the class and trusting the teachers we hire we will be able to increasetheir effectiveness and teach an advanced and more diverse curriculum for ourstudents.
This will be able to better prepare our students and country for abetter future. All thesesolutions are feasible with the reconstruction and managing of the budget forNo Child Left Behind. Less money will need to be allotted for testing eachstudent each year. Testing samples of students for domestic purposes willcopiously reduce the costs of testing. Also under No Child Left Behind, eachand every year school districts are required to notify the guardians of thechild if they’re eligible to transfer schools. The school district is thenrequired to pay for the student to transfer schools and provide the guardianswith at least two new school options for the student. Last but not least, ifthe child is in need of special transportation to and from the new school theschool district will also pay for that special transportation to and from theschool each and every day.
However, studies have shown that very little guardianshave decided to transfer their students to the new school. The districtsrequirements of providing each family with two schools each year have wastedgreat amounts of time and money. The transfer system should be changed to an onrequest system where it only is only opened up to families who have requestedthe change. This option, after reform, will most likely be used even less thanit is now. Without standardized tests, a more diverse curriculum and teachingour teachers in a way that we can trust them will limit the amount of problemsstudents have in the classroom. If a problem does arise, then the smaller andmore personal classes will allow our educators to more fully be able to addressthese problems and make progress for the student’s success.Thiswould not only save time but cut down spending and those funds could beallotted to other movements in the law. Expenditure per student has increasedby about five hundred seventy since the No Child Left Behind began.
Thisexpenditure is in part due to unneeded costs such as unnecessary testing ofeach student each year and transferring and transportation costs for those whotransfer. By bringing these costs back down and eliminating the unnecessaryspending we can fully utilize the four hundred-million-dollar budget. These reforms willnot only make our budget better but they will help our society progress as awhole.
By teaching our students proficiently we can bring ourselves into abetter and more equipped future. The bipartisan support for reform of the lawshould provide aid and support for the desperately needed changes. Thesechanges are desperately needed because they affect our students and educatorseach and every day. With the political and social support, thefour-hundred-million-dollar budget will be able to be used wisely andproficiently after cuts backs have been made on unnecessary expenditure.
The No Child Left Behind Law, after reform, will beequipped to better the lives and education of our students and educators. Aftergetting back to the original essence of the bill we will be able to see theprogress that was desired in 2002 and continues to be desired today. We need toprovide each student with equal and adequate education, disadvantaged or not,prepare them for a more diverse and complex future.