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Readers Respond: Should "No Child Left Behind" Be Junked?

Responses: 52

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Should "No Child Left Behind" be junked, or is it salvageable to continue to guide U.S. public education? Why?

Children have become dumb!

NCLB needs to be junked. Kids need to be learning the skills they need in order to success in the GLOBAL economy. By teaching only for the test and not to the child's style of learning, we are short-changing our students from becoming thinkers and innovators as adults. We need to be teaching children science and math so they can develop an interest & be able to compete for jobs in the future against the Asians countries where all the advanced tecnology jobs are going. We need to be teaching foreign languages for the same purpose as well as for many jobs in our national defense dept.
—Guest a Conservative Parent

No diploma for disabled students

I was told by a mom who has a student in special needs class that even if her daughter goes through 12th grade and has learned to the best of her ability, she will not be able to get a diploma. Is this really what the NCLB program does? There has to be standards for non-disabled children and disabled children each getting a diploma for going through 12+ years of education. I agree that teachers need to be teaching, but the breakdown of family in America has caused many of our teachers to become focused on the problem children who need discipline instead of focusing on what our education system is suppose to be, teaching reading, writing, math, history, music, phys-ed, art, home economics, wood shop, and science. It is so sad that our education system has been dumbed down because of worry about hurting someone's feelings. We are now experiencing the reprecussion of this in our young adults.
—Guest Trying to understand

Crazy!

My child passed the math, but not the reading. He made A's and B's all year long. Finished the year with A's and B's, but will be attending summer school. He struggles all year long to pass curriculum and he did, and he did it well. The state however failed him, because he will be left behind because he didn't pass the reading. These tests are nothing but added pressure on kids trying to survive a world of pressure. Drugs, bullying, grades, just to name a few, are what are kids worry about. No wonder kids are dropping out of school: what's the point? Even if they pass all their classes with flying colors, they are still not "good" enough. Shame on adults for putting this kind of pressure on children.
—Guest frustrated

Epic Fail

It doesn't work. At my high school the freshmen class of 2014 --- one of the first classes to be immersed in NCLB all 8 years of elementary/middle school --- only 135 out of 600 are passing all of their classes with a 'D' or higher, and the class of 2013 Isn't much better, with 185/400 on track to graduate. (200 or so had already dropped out freshmen year.)
—Guest Student

NCLB

This law needs to be changed. I have a daughter who is a senior and can not walk in graduation because she did not pass the state history test!! She has passed all of her classes and was told she could get her GED. Why did I send her to school for 13 years? She could have dropped out and gotten her GED when she was 16, but she wanted more for herself than a GED!!! If a senior has passed all classes, they should be allowed to be particpate in the senior activiaties. This is what they have spent they last 13 years getting ready for. My daughter is a great person inside and out and she is good student. She is very depressed and disappointed. I hope the school board sleeps well at night time knowing that they have let down several kids. This law is not any good for kids! I guarantee the dropout rate for seniors are growing because of this!!
—Guest kristy

NCLB needs revision

As a former educator and spouse to a current educator, I feel that NCLB is in desperate need of revision. I hear horror stories from my husband as to what happens in his school. He teaches Chemistry and has a class with 14 out of 20 students in Chemistry II with learning disabilities. Because of NCLB his class has had to be 'dumbed down' so that these slower children can achieve something. They are in his class because they needed a science credit and his class wasn't full. Because of NCLB, his superintendent, has informed teachers at his school that they may ONLY give mulitple choice or true/false tests. Don't they know that science classes need to test that students know formulas? He was reprimanded because he had five short answer questions on one of his tests in Chemistry! If all you have to do is pass multiple guess questions, most should pass, but some students don't care & some won't even put their correct names on the tests.
—Guest Lyn

Settling for Mediocrity

NCLB... or No Child Gets Ahead! Students should be challenged based on their abilities. NCLB is asking gifted students to lower their standards, which is unfair and harmful in the long run. NCLB allows the nation to settle for mediocrity instead of allowing students to excel and develop their skills.
—Guest Laurin

Major reform!

Why do we want our children to know so much? I want my children to be intelligent and want them to learn, but not at a loss of childhood. My kids have so much homework that they have no time to play. I have 2 gifted children and 1 special ed so I see both sides. The gifted children look for ways to add to their learning on their own time, because that is what they enjoy. The special ed student is falling further and further behind because of budget cuts in special ed and forced accelerated integration. I am infuriated that special ed has been replaced with giving him the answers! I had to teach him phonics, because his teacher did not want to mess with him. I am a junior in college with a 3.8 GPA so I value education, but some of this is ridiculous. Standardized testing is crap! No one learns at the same level!
—Guest concerned Parent

Rita Privett

Junked! My son was denied an IEP in school. Now I am told he is too disabled for a GED. He was dumped by the system because he could not pass one test (Graduation Exam) that decides his future. The state receives 25 billion for this! I am tired of having my child told he is less because he cannot attend college. People who have graduated college in Alabama are washing dishes and running cash registers because jobs are not available. Why go into debt for that college education that is becoming worth nothing?
—Guest Rita Privett

Improve it, but not give up

As a special ed teacher I am frustrated. I spend a vast majority of my time trying to help students who do not want help, while other students get slighted. Testing, testing, and more testing. Students who know teachers are under fire purposely do nothing. Parents point fingers at the system, yet do not support the cause. We work hard to try to teach those who could care less. Top it with budget cuts, stress over possibly losing our jobs, and students who are apathetic makes me think that No Child Left Behind could be modified. We are supposed to provide a free and appropriate education, but you can't make someone learn who is intent on not. We end up with big power struggles and not much progress. Since when is an education a right? It is a privilege. Let me know how to inspire the students who want no part of education? We are making it so easy for them that it is fail safe and they still don't want their education and even mock their teachers' efforts.
—Guest Frustrated

Not a Black or White Issue

I'm concerned that we may overlook the qualities of NCLB, such as how to identify and accommodate "at risk" students. For all the criticisms here NCLB brought many skilled and talented individuals to take up the challenge proposed by the Bush administration.
—Guest drk

Why keep it?

Why are we holding back the brightest students in an attempt to bring the less gifted students up?
—Guest Freshman

I know Little Johnny can't read

As a teacher we are forced to assess, assess and assess. So much time is spent "testing" little time is left to teach. We are also required to spend a large percent of our day focused on the lower 25% trying to keep them from being "left behind" but in doing so we are holding back the higher performing students trying to keep everyone on the same page. We will not be able to compete until more time and money is focused on the children with the greatest potential rather than the struggling student. No child left behind really means that no child gets ahead.
—Guest Melissa J

Fix the NCLB law

While slower students should be helped to do better in school, it is slowing down the advanced students (even the average students). My granddaughter is in school in North Carolina where there are a lot of Mexican children in her class who don't speak English. The teacher is using most of the classroom time trying to teach the Mexicans English. My grandson, also in the same school, wanted to take some books out of the school library but he could only find picture books listed for class. He asked where are the chapter books and was told that he could not take them out until all the students in his class could read! He has been reading for two years and now he is not able to get a book to read!!??? The teachers are teaching how to take all the tests students need to get good marks for the school instead of teaching what students really need to know. I could go on and on with many stories. Something needs to be done but Congress doesn't want to listen to the people.
—Guest Ray

Hitting the problem with a hammer

My math teacher used to critique us for choosing the obvious work-intensive way of solving a problem, hitting it over the head with a hammer. Sometimes you got the right answer, a lot of time it was lost in the work. We learned to think and do math more delicately. In many ways, NCLB is like hitting the delicate issue of failing schools over the head with a hammer. Sure, it can tell if a schools students can't read or do math anywhere near their grade level, but it can't effectively change it. It doesn't address the importance of the home environment in student performance. It fails to push schools to provide meaningful education so much as education to pass the test, and instead of identifying and solving the often complex issues with failing schools, it imposes unthinking sanctions, it focuses on the narrow fields of math and reading, or perhaps sometimes science or history. It ignores progress of an individual student.
—Guest wesnr

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