Social and Cultural Foundations of American Education/Accountability/NCLB Standards
To start off, what exactly does the No Child Left Behind ask of educators and school systems all over the United States? The No child Left Behind (NCLB) is a federal law that was enacted in 2001. The act’s goal is to improve academic skills in math and reading among all elementary and secondary students and hold school districts and states accountable. An assessment is then given to students to evaluate their performances. The NCLB also gives parents more options to where they want their children to receive education. Another regulation of the act requires schools to give contact information of all attending students to military recruiters (Wikipedia).
How should the standards of NCLB be met?
|“||In order to make sure children are not simply shuffled through the system, we must measure. We must determine what needs to be corrected early, before it's too late.||”|
—George W. Bush
There are many aspects associated with improving education for students today. First we must make sure teachers are fully qualified to meet the state and federal requirements. In schools in metropolitan and low-income areas, students are more likely to be taught by untrained teachers. In result, students do not receive the proper knowledge to compete with students in other areas. Second, we must offer parents more options about where their students receive their education. Next, we need to improve our high schools to give them the proper tools for testing and catching problems early on. Lastly, we must effectively assess students on their knowledge of the material in core classes.
What is being done to ensure teachers are qualified to meet the NCLB standards? Well some teachers were not qualified to meet standards, so NCLB ordered schools to report the number of teachers who do qualify under the highly qualified teacher standard in the 2002-2003 school year. Funds and grants were given to schools to support teacher development and to schools who were having a tough time adhering to requirements (Safier, K.). Less than half of the states reported that 90 % of their teachers were highly qualified to teach under the NCLB act. To be highly qualified, a teacher must be a college graduate with all certifications and prove knowledge of their content area. Some states measure teacher qualification by college coursework and student progress in the classroom. Another step being taken by President George W. Bush is to offer part-time positions to experts in the fields of math and science so students receive precise information.
Under the No Child Left Behind Act, parents have more of a say when it comes to the education of their children. In most situations, students are placed in schools based on where they live and how districts are drawn out, which can be a disadvantage for some. Have you or someone you know lied about your address so you could go to a certain school? Perhaps you were not receiving the best education possible. A parent or a child should not have to lie about where they live to receive a better education but instead the best education should be offered to all. According to this act and President Bush, parents will use their options to help their students in troubled schools. President Bush has also projected a Nationwide Opportunity Scholarships Program entitled to help students in struggling schools transfer to schools of their choice to encourage academic success.
Improving High Schools
To improve high schools, problems during the education process must be caught early on to prevent the continuing of bad habits, which may cause students to fail. Many schools like the school I attended gives students and parents progress reports in the middle of the six or nine weeks of each grading period. Progress reports explain the grades for every subject whether the student is passing or failing. Another action the President is taking is to train more teachers over a five-year period to teach advanced placement courses. Advanced placement courses will better prepare students who wish to continue their learning after high school.
Through NCLB, states are required to test students on grade level content and math and reading standards for grades 3-8 and once for grades 10-12. Schools who fail to make progress are required to make different services available to students to give them the tools they need to score high on tests. Schools may offer tutoring free of charge so they may get the needed extra help. Also states are required to make state goals objectives that are measured annually. In the article’ “20 Ways to Use Authentic Assessment Techniques to Fulfill the Promise of No Child Left Behind” the authors Carol Layton and Robin Lock give educators twenty suggestions on how to assess students. One suggestion is to collect work from students daily to display the progresses of each student. This will verify if the student is performing on or below their grade level on an everyday basis. Another suggestion is to directly observe and record student behavior. This will provide the information concerning skill performance. Assessment also lets educators know what areas students are lacking in and what information needs to be taught in more depth.
Recipe for Success
In order to make the No Child Left Behind Act a success, all of these aspects must be incorporated. Teachers must have the education and experience to teach effectively. Effective teachers prepare students for what is to come later in their journey of education as well as prepare them for life. Parents also have more options to where their children go to school to make sure the child is getting the proper attention and education. High schools are being improved to catch problems early on so they do not become permanent problems that cannot be fixed. Lastly, to measure the skills of students, their knowledge must be assessed.
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- Bush, George W. "Fact Sheet: the No Child Left Behind Act: Challenging Students Through High Expectations." The White House. 5 Oct. 2006. 1 Feb. 2007 http://georgewbush-whitehouse.archives.gov/news/releases/2006/10/20061005-2.html
- Layton, C. A., et. al., 20 Ways To ... Use Authentic Assessment Techniques to Fulfill the Promise of No Child Left Behind. Intervention in School and Clinic v. 42 no. 3 (January 2007) p. 169-73
- "What Assessments Does No Child Left Behind Require?" ED.Gov. 10 Aug. 2004. 1 Feb. 2007 http://www.ed.gov/teachers/how/tools/initiative/updates/040810.html?exp=0
- Safier, K. L. Improving Teacher Quality in Ohio: The Limitations of the Highly Qualified Teacher Provision of the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001. Journal of Law & Education v. 36 no. 1 (January 2007) p. 65-87
- "No Child Left Behind." Wikipedia. 8 Mar. 2004. 1 Feb. 2007 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/No_Child_Left_Behind