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‘No Child Left Behind’ Celebrates its 10th Birthday. Good? Bad? Indifferent?

10 January 2012 No Comment

Earlier this week I came across an article written by Sol Stern, an author for The Daily Beast, titled, “Still ‘Lying to Children’: How No Child Left Behind Corrupted Education”. In the article, Stern discusses the “No Child Left Behind Act” (NCLB) – enacted 10 years ago this week. He states that, “Expecting all students to be college ready is a hopeless utopian goal that inevitably produces test-score inflation and bad results”.

Jim Pulliam, the Vice President of Company of Experts and a former community college president, is passionate about student learning – which inspired him to establish Distance Edu Learning, the software company responsible for developing Fintelo, a content management system. When developing Fintelo, Jim ensured that the software would engage students by allowing the learner to construct their own learning based on their individual learning styles. In addition, the software has included intended learning outcomes within each lesson of a course – providing learners an increased awareness of what is required of them and allows teachers to evaluate and enhance their own teaching and curriculum. As I read the article, I was curious what Jim’s thoughts on the issue would be. In an email, I sent him a link to the online article I found and wrote, “This week celebrated the 10th anniversary of No Child Left behind. Sol Stern writes that the landmark law has corrupted education. What do you think?” His reply is as follows:

“No Child Left Behind is a deficit based model thus discouraging those that are struggling learners. The NCLB initiative requirements that were implemented measured all students by one test. Thus, if you did poorly on the first test in lower grades you were already identified as a poor learner – kids knew this – thus either quit or used as an excuse I cannot do the work. In addition when one considers the billions of dollars spent on a segment of the school population we had a tendency to forget the students the systems define as gifted. The only benefit it elevated the discussion of the importance of education, although there is a better way than penalizing kids in addition to spending billions of dollars. This does not even address the profession of teaching where as we defined teachers as either good or bad based on their students performance.

I visited classrooms ,K-12, where students were taking the exam. I observed that many filled in the bubbles without reading the questions. They were either bored, did not care, wanted to get to recess or “what the heck” they had learned that they were incapable of doing good work.

Every child has special skills and needs. We visit our existence here on earth with basically with the same intelligence benchmarks. The trouble is we try to measure the results with the money spent while at the same time not including the different ways we learn or respond to school work. If a being is told often enough or included /excluded from “special groups” other students identify with this early on- those that cannot do the work.

It all is a self fulfilling prophesy. If we “BELIEVE WE CAN” chances are we will perform.

Corrupted Public Education – I do not believe the act has corrupted education. I do believe we have lost some good teachers, hurt learners (possibility for life) and made this great nation less competitive for the short or intermediate term.

We will be back – count on it.

I have other thoughts but this is enough rambling. If you really want to know how I feel lets have coffee.”

I am curious to learn what others think of the “No Child Left Behind” Act. I invite anyone to submit their comments to begin the discussion.

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Melissa Robaina Melissa Robaina (3 Posts)

Melissa has an interest in higher education and adult learning theory. Melissa works for a consulting company as a content developer and has collaborated with numerous subject matter experts researching, organizing, and writing material that nurture discussions and utilize the latest technologies that help lay the foundation for a learning community to thrive. The content that Melissa has developed has been utilized in face to face and online workshops and trainings.


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