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Pub 650 - No Child Left Behind Act

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No Child Left behind Act

Craig Allen

PUB-650

Professor Huberman

September 29, 2011

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

In this competitive global economy, there are concerns that children receiving an education in the United States are performing below the national average. This dilemma is well recognized around the country therefore the Federal Government instituted an act that will potentially narrow this educational gap. Studies have pin pointed the origin of the academic failures and attributed the children's poor performance to their social and /economic background, their parents education level, the lack of access to high-quality preschool instruction, school funding, peer influences, teachers' expectations and instructional quality as well as the curriculum.

In order to remedy this crisis, an analysis will be conducted to determine the best course of action as it relates to whether or not the act is effective in narrowing the gap. Four different alternatives are proposed as a response to the public outcry for education reform: 1) should the act be reauthorize and continue to be implanted as intended; 2) should we do nothing and allow the act to expire ; 3) Should the act be re-enacted with changes; 4) should the act be absolute and substituted for a completely different program. All the alternatives are assessed by equity, social accessibility, administrative accessibility, and cost.

A study is being conducted to determine if the NCLB should be renewed without changes or if the NCLB is ideal to remedy the achievement gap; yet may require some modifications to make this act successful. Furthermore, this study will also analyze the feasibility of not doing anything to contribute to the reenactment of the NCLB or based on research based on international education system, if the act should be absolute and a new project created. The goal of the alternatives research is to determine the best course of action in eliminating or narrowing the achievement gap.

INTRODUCTION/HISTORY

In 1965, the Elementary and Secondary Act was enacted by President Lyndon B. Johnson, as part of his "War on Poverty" (answers.com, 2009) to remedy the inequality in education. However the act was not successfully meeting its objectives as the gap remained and in 1981, the Education Consolidation and Improvement Act substituted the initial reform act. Furthermore, evaluation of the Education Consolidation and Improvement Act revealed a need for another change creating the 1994, Improving America's School Act. In 2001, upon reviewing the 1994 act, President Bush determined that the act was absolute and needed to be replaced by the No Child Left behind Act. Subsequently on January 8, 2002, the No Child Left behind Act of 2001 was enacted into law. President Bush realized the reason of the previous acts failure was due to the lack of involvement from the federal government and used the NCLB to expand the federal role in education and used it as a tool of focal point of education policy.

The public outcry was likely a direct impact of statistical data that emphasized the educational crisis pertaining to the achievement gap. In 1999 national statistics showed that 63 percent of African American students, 58 percent of Hispanic students, and 60 percent of students who lived in poverty were all below what was considered to be a proficient reading level. In addition to those facts a 1999 survey indicated that 81 percent of African-Americans between the ages of 18 to 24 and 63 percent of Latinos possessed a high-school diploma or GED, compared to 90 percent of whites (nces.ed.gov).

WHAT IS THE NCLB

The No Child Left behind Act (NCLB) aims at improving the academic education of disadvantaged students as many studies reveal an enormous achievement gap at a national level, between minority children and white children. Additionally, the NCLB represents significant changes to the education landscape as the act holds schools and state accountable for student's progress, contrary to the previous acts. The act is a blend of requirements, incentives and resources that states are required to abide by and incorporate into their own state-level education policies. Specifically, the law sets deadlines for a state to conduct student testing and introduces a greater level of accountability with the school system to ensure that teachers are qualified in their subject areas. The act also requires that states show their progress and increase the levels of reading, math all while closing the gap between minority and non-minority students. In addition, funding has been increased at the state-level giving each state some flexibility as to where they would like spend the funds. Some states find importance at the pre-school level while others use the funds for after-school programs.

On a national scale, this policy has been the only one addressed specifically to aid the achievement gap while individual states have created additional policies. Every state has a specific need whether it is at the secondary or elementary education level and policy makers at the state level have been working diligently to make sure that the policy action they take is in accord with the No Child Left behind Act.

CONTROVERSIES IN NCLB

The idea of implementing the No Child Left behind act was a superb solution to the criticism of the poor education children received across the United States as its goal was intended to promote accountability of the school in relation to the child's performance. However, in the past few years since this act has been in effect, there have been some negative outcomes, especially in the urban areas. This act has been called bias and discriminatory for minority children who are unable to meet the objectives. Furthermore, the parent's level of frustration in the children's performance has hindered their faith in the public school system. Lastly, teachers no longer have the flexibility to be creative and passionate about their profession as the art of teaching is nothing more than a robotic mechanism instituted for the No Child Left behind Act.

Advocates throughout the country continue to be on a crusade to amend or make the act absolute. Complaints derive primarily from the various low income communities as a result of children being unable to meet the act's

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