Last modified on 24 March 2010, at 15:21

Social and Cultural Foundations of American Education/Accountability/NCLB Savior

What makes NCLB the savior of quality education?

Education is a vital tool for success in this country for today’s generation. There can be no growth or expansion unless society as a whole becomes more educated and better trained. In the past it was acceptable to graduate high school and find a job, but now that will not get you very far in life. Children today have to be better, brighter, and more knowledgeable than ever before if they hope to make it into college and make something of themselves in the world. Due to these high stakes for the growing youth in America, the nation had to develop a strategy to guarantee success. This is where No Child Left Behind entered the picture. The schools around the country were not meeting the standards and expectations set for them in order for children to have the most beneficial opportunities. Teachers and other school staff did not have the qualifications, skills, or concern to help the students get the best out of the public school system. After seeing these results and having great concern about the future of children, the national government decided to step in and make a difference. With their guidance and enthusiasm, NCLB has made great strides in raising the bar of education in this great nation. Now teachers must be highly qualified in order to give students the best instruction for learning. This law also made schools and states more accountable for education and performance. Throughout the regulations of this education safeguard, parents are more involved, technology is better incorporated into the learning process, and all minority and disabled students are taught with higher skills and importance.

Highly Qualified TeachersEdit

Education growth and development has made teacher qualifications a high concern of schools across the nation. These professionals need the experience, knowledge, and skills to lead the younger generation on the pathway to education. With this in mind, NCLB targeted teachers to make sure they met the necessary requirements. To be deemed highly qualified, teachers must have a bachelor’s degree, certification or licensure from the state, and show mastery of the subjects they teach (NCLB Flexibility, 2004). All teachers were required to maintain the highly qualified status by the 2005-2006 school year. It is important that teachers become highly qualified in each subject they teach. Due to the demand for teachers, the Education Department has made flexibilities to give teachers considered qualified in one subject time to receive that qualification in other subjects. This is an important flexibility for teachers that are teaching many subjects. Another key alternative for current teachers is the HOUSSE (High, Objective, Uniform State Standard of Evaluation) evaluation process. This allows teachers to prove their mastery of the subject or subjects they teach without having to return to school (NCLB Flexibility, 2004). It is also now important to properly train teachers who were entering the schools so they can provide the best education to students. This law also targeted teacher recruitment so that school officials could hire the most skilled person for the job. With qualified teachers in the smaller classrooms, students would be able to learn more information and meet state requirements (Whitehouse, n.d.).

AccountabilityEdit

In states where the law (NCLB) has been embraced, it is working. Teachers, principals, superintendents, parents and children have all chosen to roll up their sleeves and meet the challenge. As a result, children are achieving, and the achievement gap in the early grades is closing. In those states, public confidence in public education is soaring.

—Dennis W. Redovich, The Nonsense of the NCLB Act and High School Reform

Schools and states are now being held accountable for children learning the necessary material. The schools must measure each student’s annual yearly progress, AYP, in math and reading. Each student must also test proficient on state tests by the 2013-2014 school term. Then the school must keep the parents informed about how it is performing. Each child should be meeting the AYP goal for the year in at least a proficient score or the school is not doing its job. The school is also responsible for letting parents know when a person that is not a highly qualified teacher is instructing their child. The major accountability test for each school is the standardized tests. If schools are unable to pass these tests with the children scoring proficient then that school is not meeting its obligations. With the schools being held more accountable, they are making greater efforts to teach chidren. Not surprisingly, it is working. Everyone is getting involved and trying to overcome any obstacle in the path of education. NCLB has set the margins of excellence and it is making sure that all schools can meet these requirements. This is a positive effect for every parent because then the children will be getting the best education possible (No Child Left behind Act: Wikipedia, n.d.).

Parental InvolvementEdit

Getting parents involved with the school is a major goal of the NCLB. It is important for parents to understand how the schools should be performing. Then they must make every effort to evaluate the education their child is getting compared to the set standards. NCLB has many refreshing ideas about getting parents involved. Some of these rules include annual meetings with parents, notifying parents of teachers that are not certified as highly qualified, and distributing an annual report card on how the school is performing. Still, it is the schools responsibility to inform parents on how their child is progressing and what they can do to help. The most important aspect of this parental involvement occurs when a school is not performing to meet standards. Then the school must notify the parents with options of transferring to other schools that are performing up to standards. The child is also eligible for free tutoring. Overall this should be a relationship of constant communication between the parents and the school. The parents need to know how the child is performing, as well as how the school is meeting its requirements. It is the parents’ obligation to make sure their child is receiving an appropriate education and it is the schools responsibility to provide this useful information to the parent (NCLB Rules, 2007).

Incorporating Technology into EducationEdit

Another major goal of NCLB is to incorporate technology into learning. This would enhance the educational opportunity of the child. There are many schools that do not use technology when teaching. The students are missing out on learning about tools they will use in the future, and it is putting them further behind after they exit the public school. Technology is also a useful tool to get children interested in what they are learning. This is why the government finds it so important to use technology when teaching. By incorporating this technology, students are learning the necessary material while becoming familiar with devices they will use later in life. This is also a way for schools to receive more money. A school can receive extra funding for new devices. This will help the schools that do not have enough money to purchase computers and other materials. Some teachers are finding this new incorporation useful because it reduces the paperwork and makes lessons more flexible (Whitehouse, n.d.).

Minority and Disabled StudentsEdit

NCLB has made great strides in increasing the educational benefit of minority and disabled students. Before, these students did not get the attention or recognition they deserved. Many schools would not focus on these groups because they were not the majority of students. Through NCLB, these groups are getting greater attention. This act has shifted the attention to minimizing the gaps in performance between groups based on class or race. Every student has the same expectations and requirements whether they are black, white, rich, or poor. This has made schools focus on groups, such as Latinos or low-income students, that were previously forgotten due to status or financial label (No Child Left Behind Act: Wikipedia, n.d.). These groups are now receiving their appropriate education. Disabled students were also ignored in the past. There were no high expectations of these students so many schools shifted attention away to the larger groups. NCLB changed all of this by requiring disabled students to also meet strict requirements of AYP. This forced schools and teachers to refocus attention to these students so they could pass state tests. This gave disabled students a better chance of learning in the general education classroom and becoming productive members of their school and society (Nagle, Yunker, & Malmgren, 2006).

Limited English Proficiency StudentsEdit

“All limited English proficient students will become proficient in English and reach high academic standards, at a minimum attaining proficiency or better in reading/language arts and mathematics”(ED.gov). The Virginia Board of Education adopted English Language Proficiency Standards of Learning in November 2002. “Section 1111 (b)(7) of the NCLB Act requires each state to ensure that all school divisions, will provide for an annual assessment of English language proficiency of all LEP students”(ED.gov).The assessment measures an individual’s oral language, reading, and writing skills in English. A LEP student who is at the lowest levels of achievement in the grades third through eighth has the option of taking the state test as proxy for the English/reading Standards of Learning test with up to three years. Whereas the students who maintain the higher levels of proficiency take the regular Standards of Learning tests. Through this testing, LEP students will get a chance to achieve at their very highest upbringing. The No Child Left Behind Act does not penalize for their level, instead each child gets a chance.

ConclusionEdit

Although NCLB may have caused drastic changes in school across the country, it was a positive effect for the children. Without this legislation, many children would have continued to receive an inadequate education and could have suffered later on through life. Through NCLB, all students are given the same chance to succeed and it is the schools responsibility to help. They must make sure that all students are making progress and achieving set goals every year during their education. It also requires schools to keep parents involved so they know how their child is performing. Through the requirements of highly qualified teachers and the use of technology, students are now receiving one of the best educations this country has every seen. There may be a few dilemmas along the road to success, but overall NCLB has helped to make the state and schools accountable for what the students do. Through this, each child is making great strides and has the best opportunities set on the road ahead. This is not only making the nation’s schools a better place to learn, but is creating knowledgeable students who will one day make this country a better place to live.

Multiple Choice QuestionsEdit

Click to reveal the answer.

Which is not a requirement of a highly qualified teacher?
A. A degree in every subject they teach.
B. Certification or licensure in the state.
C. A bachelor’s degree.
D. Prove that they know each subject they teach.

A. A degree in every subject they teach.

Why is incorporating technology important?
A. To let the children have time on the computer to relieve some stress.
B. To give the teacher a break from lecturing all day.
C. To help the children learn valuable information in an exciting way while becoming familiar with new technology.
D. To use up time when the teacher has nothing left to do in the class.

C. To help the children learn valuable information in an exciting way while becoming familiar with new technology.

Which student would have received less attention and assistance before NCLB?
A. A white girl who came from a rich family.
B. An African American student who had trouble in reading.
C. A disabled student who was testing on grade level.
D. A Hispanic male who is speaking fluent English.

B. An African American student who had trouble in reading.

Parental involvement includes all of the following except:
A. Annual meetings with the parents.
B. Distributing a report card of progress every 2 years.
C. Parents transferring their child if a school is low performing.
D. Notifying parents if a teacher is not highly qualified.

B. Distributing a report card of progress every 2 years.

Which of the following did NCLB not help improve?
A. The quality of teachers.
B. The communication between schools and parents.
C. The gap between minority groups and white students.
D. The attitude of teachers.

D. The attitude of teachers.

What does the assessment measure for LEP students?
A. Oral language
B. Communication with others
C. Math skills
D. Science skills

A. Oral language

LEP students can take the test up to ___ years.
A. One
B. Two
C. Three
D. Four

C. Three

Section ____ of the NCLB Act requires each state to ensure that all school divisions, will provide for an annual assessment of English language proficiency of all LEP students
A. 1111 (a)(7)
B. 1111 (b)(7)
C. 1111 (a)(8)
D. 1111 (b)(8)

B. 1111 (b)(7)

Essay QuestionEdit

Click to reveal a sample response.

What do you think is the most important goal of the No Child Left Behind Act? Why?

I believe that the most important goal of this act would be to have highly qualified teachers. Teachers are the people we trust to properly educate the youth of this nation. They have the future of this wonderful country in the palms of their hands. That is why it is so important for them to have the proper qualifications. A teacher needs to have a bachelor’s degree to prove that he or she has had the proper education. Likewise, the teacher needs to be certified and able to prove that he or she knows all the subjects and material that will be taught to the students. Only then, can parents truly trust that their children are getting an appropriate education. If teachers just had to have a simple degree, he or she may not be capable or trained enough to properly take control of the classroom, and help the students learn the material that is presented to them. Teachers that have had all the proper training, certification, and testing, should know how to handle the students. They should be aware of any problems that may occur and how to solve them. Most importantly, these trained professionals will help our children become intellectuals that can change this country for the better one day.

The most important goal of the No Child Left Behind Act is accountability. I feel as though accountability is important because it requires everyone involved in education to be accounted for improvements that need to take place in education. The NCLB Act holds states, schools, teachers, and students accountable for improve the standards in education. One of the biggest problems in education was that there was not uniform system in place to hold anyone accountable for students failing. The enactment of the NCLB Act, everyone in education is accountable for improving education in America. Someone in education is always answering to someone else (states to federal government, schools to states, teachers to schools, and students to teachers). Accountability has really opened up the door to allow everyone to succeed in education. The main goal in education is to make sure No Child is Left Behind and the new accountability system put into place allows every student a chance to succeed.

Teachers do seem to be accountable for more things than anyone else. But it is important to make sure teacher are held accountable because if a student succeed you say it was because they had a good teacher; if a student fails you say it was because they had a bad teacher. We need to make sure that our students are getting good teachers so that every student is succeeding and we can say it was because they had a great teacher.

ReferencesEdit