Rabu, 27 Juni 2012

No Child Left Behind: An Act of Good and Bad

Since the federal government issued No Child Left Behind Act in 2001, many pros and cons spread among the nation. This arguable issue, of course, triggers not only the federal concerns but also local and parents. Some may leave question, why should it be nationalized schooling system? What is the aim for having the system? An article of “Power and Control at the State and National Level by Joy Spring” drives me to an idea of ‘A Nation at Risk 1983’ about quality of the educational system’ (Spring, 2008, p.226). I did not understand what the quality of education system that the nation mean until I watched ABC TV video entitled ‘Master Teacher’. Some scenes lead me to questions. How could a grade four student not understand the word ‘out’? How could the girl write ‘betaus’ instead of ‘because’? Indeed, these scenes opened my eyes about the reasons of No Child left Behind. However, some still refute the Act and others show their agreement. By making a clear line on the positive and negative points on funding, academic standard and assessment, I will bring this paper into concise conclusion.

Funding. I question how the existence of NCLB Act could not change the funding system. The statistics of revenue for public elementary and secondary in 2008-2009 remain lower at 9.5 percent (US Census Bureau, 2011). However, it twists my idea. Funding is really important factor in implementing the NCLB Act. How the federal with these small proportion funding encourage schools can hire good teachers, train them to be qualified in developing curriculum according to the standard and assessment in order to improve students achievement? Here, I can see the federal shows responsibility about the Act. Under NEA umbrella, federal provides more ‘Low-Income private Voucher schools’ in which taxpayer dollars are used to reduce class size, enhance teacher quality and provide every student with books, computers, and safe and orderly school (Spring, 2008, p. 190). I am thinking that reducing class size, providing every student with books are easy to do, but enhance teacher quality is uneasy work. Boyle and McIntyre argue that teachers need to have more exemplary teacher preparation and professional development program (2008, p.313). Federal needs to subsidy more sufficient funding for NCLB runs smoothly, doesn’t it?
Standard and assessment. Since 2011, federal government has announced an official website about the standard which each state can adopt it. Among the 50 states, five of them i.e. Minnesota, Nebraska, Texas, Virginia, and Alaska (Core Standard, 2011) still prefer to use the state standard system instead of the national standard. I am wondering, how could this standard is not compulsory? It is brilliant idea if the all states adopt it, isn’t it?  Each state competes each others to show the students’ best performance to achieve the standard through testing system or assessment.
I personify an assessment as a ruler which details the numbers very accurately. When we want to make a line from one spot to another, we sometimes draw very good line but sometimes do not. Why? Obviously just like a ruler, an assessment shows imperfection on its implementation. It has strong points and weaknesses. In my understanding so forth, two basic notions of the assessment are named as high-stakes test and low-stakes test. The former which is done annually for grade 3 to 8 has more consequences than the latter which is only for grade 4 and 8. Indeed, it is because high-stake testing able to make a school being label as failing school. I see the concept of labeling school may bring good and negative at the same time, competition and cheating. This would be good since every single school competes and wants to achieve the good score. But, low performance schools legalize cheating such as erasing incorrect responses and changing into correct response, and supplying hints for the correct answer (Popham in Spring, 2008, p.232). It may be a good idea to have intensive monitoring by a sudden superintendent visit and changing teachers for the test. Take one county as an example. If one county has around 18 schools, the teachers in school A may supervise kids in school B. School A teachers give more supervising and watch to students to the last minutes. In my perspective, it may at least reduce numbers of school administration cheating. It is because the teacher will minimize the interaction to the students since they do not know each other and they do not want to this kids have higher score than his/her pupils.
It is very hard to give a judgment on the No Child Left Behind Act. Just like two sides of a coin, the Act presents advantages and disadvantages at the same time. So, do you agree with the No Children Left Behind Act? State your point!

Boyle & McIntyre. (2008) What kind of experience? Preparing teacher in PDS or community setting. In M.C. Smith, et al. (eds), Handbook of Research on Teacher Education Third Edition, pp. 307-329. New York: Routledge.
National Governors Association Center for Best Practices, Council of Chief State School Officers. (2010). Common Core State Standards. Washington DC.  National Governors Association Center for Best Practices Publiser. Retrieved from www.corestandard.org
Master Teacher, ABC TV video
Spring, J. (2008). American Education. Boston: McGraw-Hill.
U.S. Census Bureau. (2011). Public Education Finances: 2009 (G09-ASPEF). Washington DC. U.S. Government Printing Office. Retrieved from www.census.gov

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