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Charters and Choice

How can we give students options when their public schools are failing them?

Overview

Candidate Perspectives

College Access

College: Can't afford not to go, can't afford to go...

Overview

Candidate Perspectives

 

The Dropout Dilemma

What are the real costs of dropping out?

Overview

Candidate Perspectives

No Child Left Behind

What exactly is NCLB and how is it effecting our education system?

Overview

Pros and Cons

What's Next?

Candidate Perspectives

Early Childhood Education

How do we ensure that all children are prepared to enter kindergarten?

Overview

In Focus: Head Start

Candidate Perspectives

Teachers

Why are we struggling to recruit and retain teachers? What reforms do the candidates propose to solve the teacher shortage and improve their working conditions?

Overview

Candidate Perspectives

School-to-Work

With a struggling economy, should lawmakers place further emphasis on federally-funded school-to-work programs? Moreover, do they work?

Overview

Candidate Perspectives

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The Controversy: Has NCLB Been Successful or Has It Failed?

  • Because of its focus on regular testing, NCLB has proven to be highly controversial.  The debate surrounding NCLB has recently become especially heated since the Act is under review and in the process of reauthorization. 
  • While NCLB originally received bipartisan support, both political parties are now arguing over the Act is being implemented effectively.
  • Both critics and advocates of the Act cite extensive evidentiary support of their own position on the controversy.
  • In response to the vocal criticisms of NCLB, the Department of Education made slight adjustments to the regulations in 2005.
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  Arguments against NCLB:  
  • The federal government has consistently failed to provide the amount of funding the program requires.
  • Achievement is measured only by a students’ performance on annual multiple-choice reading and math tests.
  • Teachers are increasingly only teaching “to the test” due to the widespread fear that their students will perform badly resulting in their termination.
  • Critics argue that by teaching to the test, many students fail to receive a creative, personally relevant and well-rounded curriculum.
  • All students are held to the same achievement standard (as dictated by their state) regardless of their ability level, socioeconomic status and native language.
  • The only students who are not held to the same achievement standards are those with severe physical or mental disabilities.
  • Due to the intense focus on math and reading proficiency, fewer resources and time are devoted to subjects such as art, physical education, social studies and science.
  • Analysis of the academic reports by organizations who are unaffiliated with the federal board of education have come to mixed conclusions regarding the success of NCLB in raising math and reading achievement.
  • Many education professionals argue that it is impossible to compare data on a nation-wide scale because each state defines and assesses proficiency differently. 
  • The term “scientifically-based” education programs is not specifically defined and allows ample room for interpretation.
  • In the past year, more schools have been identified as “in need of improvement” than in previous years.
 

Evidence in support of NCLB:

 
 
  • Student test scores have been increasing since NCLB took effect in 2002.  In particular, the test scores of minority students have increased the most in this time.
  • Additionally, the overall achievement gap between minority students and the white majority has decreased between 1999 and 2004.
  • The percentage of classes taught by a highly qualified teacher has risen to over 90 percent across the nation.
  • Nearly 450,000 eligible students have received free supplemental educational services (tutoring) or public school choice.
  • The regular testing has allowed schools to identify the individual students in need of additional aid to reach grade level proficiency.
  • The increased school choice option for parents provides an additional incentive for both schools and teachers to reform any ineffective educational strategies.
  • Results have shown that the nation is still on track to reach the 2014 deadline for universal grade level proficiency in math and reading.
  • In the past year the number of schools across the nation who have met their AYP has increased.
 
 

For a comprehensive overview of the successes and failures of NCLB, check out one of these sites:

 
 


http://www.ed.gov/nclb/overview/importance/nclb5anniversary.html


http://www.nea.org/esea/ayptrends1104.html

 
 

Return to NCLB overview

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See Candidate Perspectives on NCLB