NCLB, or No Child Left Behind, is a system of educational reforms that were introduced by the United States that has been around in some form since 1965. It’s current form was initially passed in 2001. In 2013, the US Congress reauthorized the bill so that the federal government could continue playing a role in charting academic progress, teacher performance, and funding changes that may be necessary.
Having fair outcomes for education, no matter what income level a family may have, seems like a good idea. Are there some disadvantages to NCLB that should be considered as well so that a truly beneficial system of education can be developed?
The Pros of NCLB
Assessments allow for students to achieve better scores that can be reflected through testing.
Many of the achievement patterns that are tracked come from testing mechanisms like the SAT or the ACT. By focusing on assessments and how to properly learn specific information that can be recalled at testing times, students can more accurately show how much they have really earned.
It holds teachers accountable for their actions in the classroom.
Outside of conduct that is unbecoming of a teacher, there really is no way to evaluate how good a teacher happens to be outside of NCLB right now. By focusing on scores and knowledge awareness, teachers can be more accurately evaluated on the quality of their work.
It creates a common system of curriculum that will allow for consistent learning in public schools.
In the past, moving from one school to another could be problematic for students because there could be extreme changes in curriculum. With NCLB, there is much more consistency because there are national standards that are in place.
The Cons of NCLB
Determining how well students perform by test scores is ineffective.
People may learn better in different environments. Creative students may need non-traditional methods of teaching for information retention. Just because a specific fact on a test is missed doesn’t mean that the student doesn’t know the core subject material.
Standardized knowledge prohibits the free flow of higher level logic.
If there is just one set of standards for students to achieve, then there is no incentive for the students who would normally be classified as “talented” and “gifted” to excel. They will simply perform to the standard that is expected of them and do no other work.
Education is a cumulative effort, not a solitary effort.
Holding teachers responsible for test scores at certain levels in irresponsible because many factors go into how well a child is able to learn. Abusive home environments drive down learning abilities. Families going through a divorce will have children preoccupied with their family issues more than learning algebraic equations. Even socioeconomic status is reflected in test scores.
Has NCLB run out of life? There are some advantages to consider with this educational emphasis, but there are some disadvantages that also affect the process. By evaluating them all, we can determine if NCLB is the right course of public education to take for the next years to come.