No Child Left Behind Fails to Bring Desired Results

The No Child Left Behind Act of 2002 created well intentioned educational standards for our schools, but nine years later it has largely failed to accomplish the desired results.  Whether you agree with the No Child Left Behind legislation or not, one definite merit of the legislation is that it provides a uniform benchmark allowing us to compare school performance across the nation.

Secretary of Education Arne Duncan says 82 percent of all schools in the United States will receive the designation “failing” by 2014 under the law’s current proficiency targets.  Almost 10 years after passing the act, schools have made relatively little progress in reading and in math.  President Barack Obama , on the other hand, is skeptical of the high failure rate saying that some of the schools on the list are making vast improvements and are thriving.

Even if the failure rate is slightly inflated, the inability of 82 percent of our schools to measure up is quite frankly pathetic, for lack of a better word.  It would still be unacceptable if even 50 percent of the nation’s schools received this designation.  So what’s the solution to our educational woes?  Do we “reform” the legislation by lowering our standards and ignoring problems so we can say we are successful?  When a marksman can’t hit his target, is the bull’s eye enlarged? No.

Our public education system is broken.  No matter how you slice it or dice it, the fundamental reality is that many kids aren’t learning and lack the basic knowledge necessary to compete in a global economy.

President Obama says, “It’s not enough to leave no child left behind.  We need to help every child get ahead.”  Clearly, this is more easily said than done, especially when monetary resources are scarce.  The best way to improve our schools is to get the unions out and have the federal government step aside so local government leaders, administrators, teachers, and parents can decide how to best educate their students given their needs and constraints.  A one-size-fits-all approach will not work.  Education should be left primarily to the states – our laboratories of democracy – where local leaders have the freedom to pursue the policies needed to ensure all students receive a quality education.

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3 comments on “No Child Left Behind Fails to Bring Desired Results

  1. Ellen Kerber on said:

    I went to Ohio university majored in education. At that time Education;Teachers, had a heart for teaching ! Now we include people that want three months or more a year off,with a inability to graduate in business so they went into education.( they do not have a heart for teaching).How can we expect to have quality in education when we lack the moral integrity to be a good teacher. Thank You Ellen

    • Mike Harris on said:

      Ok, Buckeye institute. So, where is your data to support your conclusion that getting rid of unions will help improve education? Clearly the states in which the teaching profession is not unionized are not doing better than Ohio. In fact they are doing worse! But you’re just a conservative group looking to use the current government climate to attack public sector workers and unions. Your motives have nothing to do with helping our kids. That makes me very sad.

      And Ellen, I don’t know where you work, but the teachers in my building are extremely dedicated pretty much across the board. I have an engineering degree and a master’s in education. I guarantee you I would have had no problem getting a business degree and none of the teachers I work with would have either.

  2. That there are underlying problems with both the metrics being used to evaluate America’s school/student performance, as well as the teaching methods and curriculum is obvious. Changes to the No Child Left Behind Act are undoubtedly in order. But precisely what “changes” should be made are the big question. President O’Bama’s recent speech on this topic unfortunately indicates we’re about to see as much emphasis placed on subjective measures of “creativity” and “effort” as on actual, measurable knowledge of the curriculum being taught.

    And since the federal and state education budgets largely dictate what educational “standards” must be met by the local public schools, it follows the curriculum and “tests” will be changed to accommodate these new “touchy-feely” values Mr. O’Bama so easily spouts about. This is patently assinine… during a time of falling student performance (as measured against the performance of the rest of the world’s students) and increasingly strapped budgets, one can’t begin to calculate the additional costs and wasted time that would be expended to achieve such a “vision”. Mr O’Bama needs to find something better to do with HIS time and OUR money than his idiotic proposal.

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