Resources Concerning the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB)
written by: Linda M. Rhinehart Neas
• edited by: Elizabeth Stannard Gromisch
• updated: 6/18/2015
The following articles discuss various aspects of the contentious NCLB Act. After nearly a decade, the after effects of this law are now being debated. No child was to be left behind; yet, there are those that will argue otherwise.
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If It Sounds Too Good...
At face value, the No Child Left Behind act seemed like the perfect fix for securing an educational system that gave all students the opportunity to excel to their highest potential. The truth, however, is quite the opposite. Schools have closed, leaving parents in a quandary as to what to do next. Teachers, who once loved their jobs, have become disenchanted, leaving a profession that needs them desperately. Students have been forced into a system of checks and balances that works for some but not for all. This guide brings together articles that speak to the various aspects of this law.
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History, Background and Particulars
Understanding the history and background of the No Child act helps to shed light on why it was considered a "good thing." Additionally, having a basis for why particular aspects were created and how they have aided or hindered the educational system is also necessary to understand the full impact of this law. For instance, one of the complaints lodged about education in the US was that math and science skills — skills that require a solid understanding of technology — were lacking. The push to excel has also caused a push for school systems to become up to date in the latest technological advances.
One of the chief results of NCLB was the creation of standardized testing in order to assure that all students met Federal and State standards in all subject matter. As law, this placed a burden on teachers to make sure that students achieved good results on the test, rather than allow the teacher to teach the students in a way that allows students to receive instruction according to their needs, using skills that will enable them to think and act critically. In other words, teachers found they must "teach to the test" rather than the curriculum. In addition, proficiency in all subject matter must be met, according to NCLB, including in English language, which has put a huge burden on school systems with large populations of second language learners. Add to this, that standardized testing has been called into question for cultural and gender bias as well as language discrimination.
In mainstream classrooms around the country, students with special needs have struggled to meet the mandates set in place by No Child Left Behind. Administrators and educators have struggled to fulfill the Federal laws governing the needs of children with disabilities, as well as the requirements posed by standardize testing.
One of the issues with NCLB is that students who are advanced learners are falling between the cracks within many of the school systems where resources are already overtaxed in an attempt to meet the standards that have been imposed. The following articles take a look at why Gifted and Talented programs are important, as well as what is happening to our children.
In order to focus more on meeting the standards imposed by State and Federal mandates, many school systems have tried to modify what they offer students. In some systems, the arts have disappeared, along with recess and physical education. Other school systems have attempted to creatively meet the needs of their students. In addition, educators, parents and school officials have been pushing for a revision of the law. Unfortunately, the revisions to the No Child Act have been less than effective. The following articles ask the questions, "What really matters?" and "How do we get back to what is important?"
The bottom line in the NCLB Act debate is that we must provide an educational system that gives all students, equal access to an education that will enable them to develop their skills to the highest potential without destroying their childhood or creating human robots that simply spit out information without the ability to understand why or the impetus to question critically.