In 2002, the then United States of America president George W. Bush signed the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) bill into law. NCLB affects the content of subjects, tests performed in school, mode of teacher training, education funding and spending of money in education circles.
Consequently, different people raised voices from all quarters in society with critics and adherents alike, giving their opinions. Nevertheless, it is important to analyze this act before passing any judgment. Like any other act, the NCLB act has its merits and demerits; therefore, any opinion should be grounded on facts to determine if the merits outweigh the demerits or vice versa. If the former outweighs the latter, then the act is beneficial. The reverse is also true. Given the validity and feasibility of this act, NCLB is beneficial.
Benefits of NCLB
As aforementioned, NCLB affects three critical areas in education circles viz. students, teachers and funding. The benefits of NCLB to each one of these highlight how beneficial it is to the involved parties. Therefore, it is paramount to analyze each category separately in a bid to separate facts from propaganda. Notably, all the NCLB provisions seek to advance education standards thus benefiting, first the students and then to the United States of America as a country.
NCLB and Students
Under NCLB act, students can transfer to better schools or access free tutoring. The legislation requires all schools to present Adequately Yearly Progress (AYP) thus enabling students to know whether their schools are progressing, retrogressing or stagnant.
In case where the school is not recording positive AYP results, students can transfer to better schools with a positive AYP results. The right to access better-performing schools empowers students for they can meet their academic goals without being restrained by unfavorable learning environments.
This provision standardizes the education system, moderating the hitherto scenario where students from a given demographic group could excel in school compared to other students in a different demographic setting. Moderating these dominant differences in education system is an achievement, because each student will be in a position to compete fairly on level grounds. Moreover, students will be empowered by knowing they can access quality education anywhere within a state.
NCBL calls for students to be “tested annually in reading and math in grades 3 through 8 and at least once in grades 10 through 12…science should be tested in at least one grade in elementary, middle and high school” (Hanushek and Raymond 299). On the face value, these requirements might not mean a lot; nevertheless, research carried out to determine the viability of NCBL indicates otherwise.
Margaret Spellings, the Education Secretary states that, NCBL is positively affecting education since its implementation. “The Act is challenging our students to succeed and our schools to improve” (Spellings 2). As aforementioned, NCBL seeks to improve performance and education standards and if it has achieved this objective, then it is beneficial.
NCBL and Teachers
According to provisions of NCBL, teachers’ qualification to teach any core subject is preponderant. For instance, apart from possessing a bachelor’s degree, grade school teachers must undergo thorough tests to ascertain their competency in teaching core subjects. On the other hand, middle and senior high school teachers should aptly pass a given test to prove their competence in teaching. These provisions ensure students get seasoned information from quality teaching practices, thus elevating performance and education standards as well.
Research by the Education Trust shows that “students in schools with a large percentage of minority and low-income students are more likely to be taught by teachers who are inexperienced and lack a major or minor in the subjects they teach” (Peske and Haycock 15). In the wake of these findings, NCBL provisions come in handy to counter these poor teaching practices.
Instilling professionalism in the teaching career catapults students’ performance and education standards to great heights, something that the Education Secretary approves. “90% of teachers have met NCLB’s highly qualified teacher requirements… At-risk students are getting help earlier… children with disabilities are receiving more classroom time and attention… (Spelling 10).
These positive results from NCBL exemplify its usefulness in the education sector. Apart from seeking qualified teachers, NCBL seeks to incorporate qualified teacher’s aides in a bid to match the needs of all students. All these factors coupled with empowered students who are ready to learn, will foster education standards across all the states in the United States of America, hence qualifying NCBL as a beneficial act in contemporary America.
NCBL and Funding
The above-mentioned programs cannot run without adequate funding and NCBL policy makers knew this very well as they structured its provisions. The policy makers stipulated sufficient funding avenues to ensure successful implementation of NCBL. Schools can now access and spend federal funds in teacher training among other programs geared towards improvement of education standards.
Under this program, schools can spend federal money to train or recruit and retain certified and seasoned teachers for the purposes of improving education standards. Moreover, federal funds can now be used to ensure students conduct scientifically sound researches as a way of empowering them.
For example, “new regulations issued in October 2008 make it easier for schools to use Title I funds for outreach to parents to make them aware of their school choice and free tutoring options…spend non-Title I funds for teacher quality, technology, after-school learning, and Safe and Drug-Free schools” (Knaus 47). Given the fact that money is the driving force behind most successful stories, it is therefore important to support the NCBL act.
Even big companies sell shares to the public to raise money for development and expansion, and this underlines the important role NCBL is playing by enlisting federal fund as a source of funding schools’ projects. Moreover, as Spellings notes, this act will “ensure that high schools have resources to help low-income students” (10). This observation supports the bid to ensure equality in accessing better performing schools.
The signing of NCBL into law in 2002 significantly affected the education system across the United States of America. By affecting different key issues from the syllabus content through funding programs to teacher training, NCBL act changed the education system positively.
Currently, students from low or poor performing schools can transfer to better-performing schools allowing students to compete fairly and meet their academic needs. On the other hand, teachers should be sufficiently qualified and seasoned in the core subjects for the well-being of the students.
Finally, schools can now use federal funds to equip students through teacher training among other issues that positively affect students’ performance. All these factors contribute to high education standards and this qualifies NCBL as a beneficial program.
Hanushek, Eric, and Raymond Margaret. “Does School Accountability Lead to Improved Student Performance?” Journal of Policy Analysis and Management 24. 2 (2005): 297-327. Print.
Knaus, Christopher. Still Segregated Still Unequal: Analyzing the Impact of No Child Left Behind on African American Students. Berkley: University of California Press, 2007. Print.
Peske, Heather, and Haycock Kati. “Teaching Inequality: How Poor and Minority Students Are Shortchanged on Teacher Quality.” The Education Trust, 2006. Web. 22 November 2010.
Spellings, Margaret. “Building on Results: A Blueprint for Strengthening The No Child Left Behind Act.” U.S. Department of Education, 2007. Web. 22 November 2010.