Friday, March 19, 2010

no child left behind?

This week it came out that President Obama wants to "rewrite" the No Child Left Behind framework that was put into place by the Bush administration in 2001. The purpose of the NCLB act was created "to close the achievement gap with accountability, flexibility, and choice, so no child is left behind." Now the Education secretary Anne Duncan has said that the NCLB act has "significant flaws, in part because it puts too much emphasis on standardized tests and unfairly brands some schools as failures." Another interesting piece of information is that Obama wants to "ease up" on the federal demands of NCLB. Can this be done?

I have learned about NCLB in education class but I would truly need to sit down with the nitty gritty details of the act to truly understand everything that it encompasses. Do I think that there has been too great an emphasis placed on standardized testing? Of course. It seems to me that teachers I know can't simply teach a lesson to teach it because they know they must drill content because SOL's are a'coming. We can't take a day to teach students something for the sake of learning something new if it isn't required by the state as a standard. This, I get is frustrating. But my real question is, how can we say we are going to "ease up" on the federal demands? If we do ease up, are we letting our students down? There are high achieving schools and there are low achieving schools. Due to the conditions that make the schools what they are, is it fair to just simply ease up? Was NCLB too strenuous a law that we now need to ease up? I truly don't know the answer, but I'm hoping to understand the debate further when there is more news coverage of the issue.

When I think about inner city schools, will this legislature really change things there? I don't know. I have a friend that teaches in a low-income school district and some of her students are more concerned with whether or not they will have food on the table that night or that their mother's boyfriend will do something to the children while the mother is sleeping. Will revising NCLB change the schooling of these students? Is simply "easing up" the right answer?

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