Critical Analysis of the No Child Left Behind Act

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The program "No Child Left Behind" Act of 2001 (NCLB in print, also known as "nicklebee") is the act of United States Congress that concerns the education in public schools. Let us briefly discuss goals and concepts of "nicklebee", its achievement and negative sides.

The NCLB program was proposed by the administration of the President George W. Bush soon after they took office. The bill passed on June 14, 2001 and was signed in to law on January 8, 2002 by the President. The program was called to support the educational reform that was based on the belief that establishing of measurable goals and high standard settings could be able to improve individual educational outcomes. The Act obliged states to create and develop assessments in all basic skills and give it to all students in schools that receive federal funding. NCLB does not keep any national standard of achievements; they are set by each state individually. Nevertheless, present President of the United States Barack Obama during the 2011 State of the Union Address announced that "nicklebee" is going to be replaced. What are the reasons?

Without some important changes this program is unlikely could be re-authorized. Sanctions of closing schools with low performance without giving alternatives make children to stop attending schools in neighborhood and visit distance schools in which performance is higher. It is one point of criticism of NCLB. Another negative side is about high stakes testing that replaced an effective teaching as a main focus of instructional programming.

Under the present law, the AYP (Adequate Yearly Progress) is increasing every year, i.e. any schools, or institutions who in one year didn't make the AYP are frequently far behind in the next season. Also, the NCLB gave some requirements that many percentages of special education students increase their performance at the small or basic level to the high or expert level. In the NCLB last reauthorization, they allowed up to 3% of children to go for an interchange assessment on their level of disability. Children that are 2 or 3 years below normal grade level are asked to take the suitable grade level evaluation.

The different problem with the existing legislation is that every state has its own way of developing its test. In an ironic point of view, the state whose evaluation is more close to the result of their students on the NAEP does not essentially have the maximum percentage of high level students at the 8th and 11th grade, which in other words shows the silencing of some states evaluation, most especially in the southern parts of the United States.

Before to discuss critics of NCLB let us look through some good sides and achievement of the program. Recent NAEP (National Assessment of Educational Progress) results show achievement of students in reading and math were improved. The most significant progress was made by nine - year - olds children. Some researchers try to contest the results of this achievement. Nevertheless, the program was not totally useless. Let us mention some important improvement.

Improvement of local standards; notably New York State supported the provisions of NCLB because they were sure that the program could allow to use the longitudinal data much more effectively to monitor YAP. Hayes (2008) declared that as a result of "nicklebee" states all over America achieved improvement in their progress;

Increased accountability; this is the one strong positive point that is claimed by NCLB supporters. Legislation obliges schools to pass yearly tests which are going to check how much improvements learners achieved during a year. The tests are the main mean to see whether a school lives up to the required standards or not. If the result is negative, a school will meet decrease funding or other type of punishment. Supporters state that NCLB helps schools and teachers to realize the importance and significance of the educational system and how the low level of accountability affecting the American nation. Nevertheless, some opponents are against a punishment because it would rather affect a school than help it because no punishment contributes to the improvement of schools and students;

Attention to minority populations; NCLB aimed to create the common expectations for everybody; it meant to decrease racial and class gap in schools. According to the program's requires, districts and schools supposed to focus on the academic achievement of those groups of children that were traditionally underserved (for example, student with disabilities, low income or from ethnic and racial subgroups);

Quality of education; an ideal goal of NCLB program was to increase the quality of education improve schools' performance. Requirement for schools supposed to be following: to implement in classrooms researches that are based on science, to provide different programs with parents' involvement, to help those students that were not encouraged in developing professional activity. Also schools were expected to provide Early Reading First initiative to support early literacy. Language arts, science achievements, mathematics and emphasized reading required to be include in to core academic subjects.

We mentioned some good sides of the program NCLB. Some of those goals were partly achieved; some of them left on a paper of the bill. Let us discuss critical point.

The attractiveness of NCLB's events is vehemently disputed. It is very difficult to evaluate the usefulness of the act; this is because it applied to all states making it difficult to infer what would have happened without the act. Nevertheless, studies of the state responsibility systems that were in place before NCLB specify that liability for results led to faster progress in accomplishment for the states that bring together such schemes. The uninterrupted exploration of state test marks before and after performing of NCLB also supports its optimistic influence. Owens & Sunderman (2006) mentioned that a principal censure emphasizes that NCLB could shrink operative instruction and student education because it may cause states to subordinate accomplishment aims and influence teachers to impart to the assessment. Packer (2007) said that a main helpful entitlement proclaims that methodical testing offers facts that shed light on which institutes are not teaching elementary skills successfully, so that interferences can be made to recover products for all pupils while dropping the attainment gap for deprived and disabled pupils.

The Critiques of NCLB can be systematized into the following classifications:

Unrealistic goals

According to Alabama State Superintendent Joe Morton on Wednesday, August 11, 2010 "There's a misconception in the law and everyone are familiar with it, "Conferring to the No Child Left Behind Act, by 2014 all child is supposed to test on evaluation level in analysis and math." According to Daggett & Gendron (2010): "That can't happen you have too many variables and you have too many scenarios, and everybody knows that would never happen". According to Caylor, M. J., Alabama State Board Member: "I don't think that No Child Left Behind has benefited this state." She claimed the goal of 100 % ability is inaccessible. According to Murray, C: "the United States Congress, acting with large bipartisan majorities, at the urging of the President, enacted as the law of the land that all children are to be above average".

"Gaming" the system

The scheme of enticements and consequences sets up a solid enthusiasm for institutes, regions, and states to influence test results. For instance, schools have been made known to hire "creative reclassification" of drop-outs to lessen negative measurements).

Many critics claim that these and other approaches generate an overstated awareness of NCLB's achievements, mainly in states with high marginal populations. Liston, Whitcomb, & Borko (2007) stated that the inducements for an enhancement also may cause states to lessen their certified morals. For the reason that every state can yield its own consistent assessments, a state can make its general assessments at ease to upsurge scores. Missouri, for instance, enhanced challenging scores but flexibly self-proclaimed that they pull down the principles. A 2007 review by the United States Dept. of Education specifies that the perceived alterations in states' testified scores is basically due to changes in the strictness of their morals.

Problems with standardized tests

According to Abedi (2007) we see that detractors have debated that the effort on consistent analysis (all pupils in a state take equal test in the same circumstances) as the means of valuation inspires teachers to clarify a slight division of abilities that the teacher considers will upsurge assessment performance, rather than emphasis on obtaining profound understanding of the full, wide-ranging prospectus.

The exercise of giving all pupils equal trial, in the same situations, has been alleged of integral cultural prejudice for the reason that different cultures may rate different talents. Also, it may struggle with the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), which states that institutes must lodge incapacitated students.

Gifted, talented, and high-performing students

Specific local schools are only backing instruction for essential topics or for corrective distinct education. NCLB puts burden on schools to promise that approximately all pupils will meet the least skill stages that is set by all state in reading, writing, and calculation, but necessitates nothing outside these minimums. Programs that are not vital to attaining the directed lowest skills are ignored or disregarded by those quarters. In precise, NCLB does not necessitate any programs for skilled, talented, and other high-performing learners.

Effect on arts and electives

The main focus of NCLB is on abilities in reading, writing and arithmetic, which are parts connected to monetary success. Shared with the economic disasters in the Late 2000s slump, some schools have cut or eradicated sessions and resources for many subject extents that are not part of NCLB's responsibility principles. Ever since 2007, nearly 71% of schools have abridged some tuition time in subjects like history, arts, language and music, in effort to give more period and resources to arithmetic and English.

In many schools, the classes remain present, but different students who are not skillful in basic abilities are sent to corrective reading or mathematics lessons rather than arts, sports, or other voluntary subjects.

Limitations on local control

Various conservative or tolerant critics have claimed that NCLB groups a new customary for regionalizing education and setting a pattern for further destruction of state and local control. According to Dollarhide & Lemberger (2006), libertarians and some conformist further claim that the central government has no constitutional authority in learning, which is why contribution in NCLB is strictly elective: States need not fulfill with NCLB, as long as they are eager to relinquish the federal subsidy that comes with it. The states that select not to obtain subsidy will have their duties used in another state instead.

Increases Segregation in Public Schools

Sarant (2007) is sure that many individuals accept as true that No Child Left Behind has played a part in the growth of separated public institutes. Investigations have revealed that many African American scholars attend the bottommost performing schools in the country, and African Americans score significantly inferior on nearly every gauge of academic well-being than do offspring of a Caucasian decent.

Sogunro, Faryniarz, & Rigazio-Digilio (2009) presented that one current study has revealed that many schools in California and Illinois that have not encountered AYP serve 75-85% alternative students while schools meeting AYP have fewer than 40% minority students. Also, even though institutes that do not come across AYP are obligatory to offer their scholars' parents the chance to transfer their students to a non-failing institute inside the region, it is not vital that the other school receives the student. The parents with more training and capitals are most probable to leave minor schools. And also they are more expected to study the institutes and make an up-to-date choice on where to handover their child. This over and over again hints to isolated schools by mutually race and class.

It is easy to see that it turned to be rather hard to run originally good ideas. Some critics argue that NCLB program is unredeemable. Nevertheless, the reform received some proposals. Tommy Thompson, the former Health and Human Services Secretary and Roy Barnes, former Georgia Governor, which were co-chairs of the Aspen Commission on No Child Left Behind Program, made the Commission's final recommendation about reauthorization public in February 2007. The Commission put efforts on the improvement of NCLB and on making it more useful in closing gaps between disadvantage students and their peers. The Commission was examining the result and analysis during one year and showed successes of the Program and those aspects of it that need to be significantly modified or changed.

One more alternative proposal was offered from The Forum on Educational Accountability (FEA), the Joint Organizational Statement on NCLB working group. The main idea of the proposal is to shift the Program NCLB to supporting communities and accountably hold them if they make changes that help students to improve learning.

Summarizing all the information above, we can see that NCLB had many useful goals. Decreasing gap between disables, racial groups and other children is among them; but the Program need to be significantly improved. The present President of the United States Barack Obama works on the process of the reauthorization for the ESEA that was a precursor of "neclebee". He and Congress are currently working on initiation of the reform bills; Congress insisting on the numerous amendments to the bill. Obama claims his goal to low that gap between white and black students. Now the community is waiting for the new results and hope that all positive promises and claims will be achieved in a short time.