In the ever growing war between educators, No Child Left Behind is probably one of the most hotly contested topics in the world of education today. Nobody can seem to agree on it and it’s no wonder, because it’s a rather radical concept that years ago would have been unthinkable. In this article we’re going to present both sides of the argument but in no way will we try to determine who is right and who is wrong. We’ll leave that decision to history itself.
No Child Left Behind, the act, was instituted in 2001. One of the biggest problems with No Child Left Behind is that most people don’t really understand what it means. Parents are under the impression that it means their child is not allowed to be kept back in school if his grades are poor. This is not true at all. No Child Left Behind was instituted so that the poorer districts could give their children the same level and quality of education as children in the richer districts. To achieve this end, the poorer districts are allocated a certain amount of additional funds. These funds increase a certain percentage each year. Since the act was instituted, the average dollar amount allocated has risen from $13,500,000,000 in 2002 to an estimated $25,000,000,000 in 2007.
But there is a catch to this. And this is where the arguments come in. In order to qualify for this funding, schools have to have a certain percentage of students pass the standardized tests that are given each year. Currently, those tests are only given to high school children. Future plans for No Child Left Behind are to have these tests given to every child in every grade.
The arguments for this procedure is that children will all be taught the same material and therefore will all have the same education. If a child doesn’t pass the standardized test by his last year of high school then he must either go to summer school and pass it or repeat his last year of high school. Those for this say it will make sure that every child who does graduate from school is prepared for the outside world. By making the money given dependent on these test scores, this forces the schools themselves to focus on what they consider the core contents. This makes sure that every kid is properly educated.
Those against No Child Left Behind argue that the money allocated to the school districts should not be dependent on how well the students do. Their argument is that children in poorer districts do poorly because they are poor and the money should be given to them regardless of test scores. They view this as a catch 22, which most teachers in the poorer districts seem to agree with.
As to where this money actually goes, that would take a book to explain. Suffice it to say that portions of this huge amount are divided up among many areas including Comprehensive School Reform, Advanced Placement, School Improvement, School Dropout Prevention and the list goes on and on. This is where another argument comes in. Most teachers feel this money is being wasted and should go to teachers salaries and text books, where the money is really needed.