EDITORIALS

Opposing Viewpoints: Is No Child Left Behind really serving our schools?

Editorial board

Opposing Viewpoints: Is No Child Left Behind really serving our schools?

School Report Cards come out soon. No Child Left Behind will have an impact on what they say.

YES

Since No Child Left Behind was signed into law by George W. Bush in 2002, the unpopularity of the program has given birth to many misstatements about it.

For starters, some believe that if schools do not achieve testing benchmarks each year, their federal funding will be reduced, regardless of the school’s financial situation.

This statement, along with others, including the fact that schools with a higher concentration of poor and minority students were targeted by the program, have turned out to be false.

What the program aims to do is hold schools and teachers accountable for the amount of learning that their students do over the course of the year.

Is the program perfect? No political program is without flaws.

However, No Child Left Behind gave the federal government a greater responsibility over schools to give relief to local governments who were financially strapped in the early 2000s, well after the great recession had begun.

While stories of teachers “cheating” and doctoring students’ test answers and teaching to the test have been proven true, No Child Left

Behind is a ground-breaking program that aims to make sure all students receive the same quality education.

NO

The intent of No Child Left Behind is good. The result, however, leaves a lot to be desired.

When President George W. Bush put the education mandate into place in 2002, he dramatically increased the role of the federal government in every public classroom. More federal control means less local control.

There is a need for accountability in schools. A less than satisfactory education system is a form of discrimination the federal government should address.

There is a need for student expectation, and accountability of educators.

However, that should be addressed at the local level. If not, our local elected school board leaders become not much more than overseers of federal policy with little room to individualize educational needs.

The results of student testing and 2010-11 School Report Cards are being compiled and will soon be in parent’s hands. Every school in the nation is under pressure to make Adequate Yearly Progress, a requirement of No Child Left Behind. That is becoming increasingly difficult.

Schools, as a result, are teaching to the test to make the grade in fear of being seen as failing. That fosters a cookie-cutter approach.

Education will not suffer from more local control.