When this No Child Left Behind (hereafter referred to as NCLB) was brought forward by the Bush Administration in 2001, everyone was excited. I mean parents, teachers, administrators….everyone thought this would be great for THE CHILDREN. I mean why wouldn’t they? Title 1 Section 101 of the legislature reads something to the effect of ” Improving the academic achievement of the disadvantaged.” Title 3 Section 301 reads something to the effect of “Language instruction for limited English proficient children and immigrant children and youth.” However, as I browse through this piece of law, I can’t help but get stuck on Title 6 Section 601 that reads something like “Flexibility and Accountability.” This particular section stood out to me because I thought it would mean that the law would become flexible on the accountability being placed on schools prior to NCLB. In my opinion and the opnion of countless others, that seems to be the total opposite.
I came across an article today (found in my links) that was written by John Merrow [I love reading his articles by the way], and this article was about the Secretary of Education and how he should/needs to step up with the new Common Core Standards being implemented in the majority of the US. Now I am not sure how anyone else feels about the Common Core Standards, but I have been in favor of a method such as this before I even knew it existed. The reason is because when I first went to college, I felt that I had been cheated all of my high school years. I graduated at the top of my class and was always considered smart, but placed in a classroom of students from various states made me question that. I wanted to know, why didn’t I know the answer to what my professor was asking. Why wasn’t that in my curriculum. I wanted to know how my fellow classmates that went to collge felt about their “new found smartness”. It was then [way before I knew I wanted to be an educator] that I knew something was wrong with everyone in each state learning different materials, but expected to perform the same way on a test and even in college. Anyhow back to NCLB……
When NCLB came into play, this started to seem that it had nothing to do with helping the CHILDREN. Students became pawns in a classroom that resembled a factory almost. Child comes in…sits for hours…teacher dumps information into their brains…..they test….pass test….then go into the world as high citizens of the world!!! NOT!!! This NCLB has caused teachers and administrators to alter test scores because test scores became their accountability. They were now being held responsible for if a student passed or failed. This determined whether they owuld even have a job….. The case in Atlanta,GA is one of the most known cases of cheating occuring by the school administration, but apparently there are at least 37 states and DC that had school cheating cases. By cheating, that means changing answers on high stakes tests, saying low performing children were absent, and more.
I understand accountability….trust me I do…but at the stake of what…..our children!?!? Yes teachers & schools should be held accountable, but there needs to be another method of measuring this. We all know that all children learn differently, so why would be expect them to perform the same…regardless of what the teacher or administrator has done. This is why I went into my own practice. It is not because I am afraid of being held accountable because I believe I am a great educator and am all about the individual child. I left the classroom because, I would be held accountable for something that I have minimal to no control over…a child’s mind and learning process.