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No Child Left Behind (nclb) - Is It a Help or Hindrance?

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No Child Left Behind: is it a help or hindrance

Since it was signed into law, No Child Left Behind Act of 2001(NCLB) has had a dramatic impact on elementary and secondary education in the United States. With a renewed focus on accountability for all students and increased assessment requirements for states, local schools, and teachers have all been affected by the law and its implementation. NCLB passed by congress has had major ramifications for education in the United States and this paper will attempt to address some of the good and bad of this major federal legislation. The law itself was created to improve the overall performance of public schools in all facets dealing with the education of the country's children. NCLB is significant in that it represents the first amendment that has ever been made since the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965. The George W. Bush administration viewed that the 1965 Act had flaws and was inadequate to address the needs of children in society today. NCLB was his attempt to improve it because achievement gaps still existed between so many sub-populations in our schools.

Five Main Goals of NCLB

The first major goal of NCLB is a requirement that all public schools make what is called adequate yearly progress (AYP). States are given some latitude in developing standards and criteria to meet if they are to be considered productive. If a school does not improve, or is considered non-productive, the school could lose funding and be considered as needing improvement. The law also allows some time for schools to meet established goals that will enable them to improve.

The next goal attempts to address that teachers in all subject areas must be "highly qualified". Even though NCLB gives school districts funds to provide professional development for teachers and to for hiring what the government considers "highly qualified", one must ask just because a teacher has a number of hours in a subject area, does this make the teacher highly qualified enough to teach children? This is one of the problems with this piece of legislation. Just because a teacher has a significant number of hours in a content area, does not in any way make them "highly qualified" to teach any area of concentration. There is much more to teaching than to just have content knowledge. Teachers must be able to disseminate information to children that will allow them to reach higher levels of learning and to apply that new knowledge to further gain new knowledge. Teaching is a science and an art. In my opinion, NCLB only addresses the science of teaching and this is one of the major fallacies of this bill.

The third goal of NCLB is to track student progress and that it be measured by assessing reading, mathematics, and science. This aspect of NCLB is very troublesome to parents and



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