The No Child Left Behind Act, or NCLB, is a great theory, but it is falsely enforced. The point of the NCLB is to nationalize and unify the public school systems in the United States and to standardize learning, which is a reasonable goal for a strong government. The extent to which there is standardization seems to be the problem; too much similarity could harm the creativity and innovation that often produces revolutionary technology, however too little could cause inadequacies in fundamentals. Some of the best inventions come from leaking, dingy basements and an inventor who would not have survived standardization in school. The United States population is most often moderate and therefore the government’s hand should reflect that moderation. From personal experience, public education has steadily deteriorated while the expectations of the institutions has steadily increased. There are many factors to account for their inadequacies, yet funding seems to provide the greatest results. The students are the victims when the funding decreases and the expectations are risen.
Beverly High School in Beverly Massachusetts has seen the harm of decreasing budgets while their MCAS tests increase in difficulty. Beverly High recently lost their accreditation for having an inadequate learning facility and thankfully it has not resonated to the student drop out rate. The high school’s infrastructure was and still is faulty, the shortcomings noted consisted of out of date electrical wiring, collapsing ceilings, out of date science labs, deteriorating plumbing and moldy walls from water damage. The district hopes to build a new high school soon, however the districts resources did not improve.
During the same year that Beverly High suffered their accreditation loss, one of their middle schools closed and was forced to combine with their other middle school; the district was unable to pay for Memorial Middle School. That same year, the district had to come up with inventive ways to increase their budget to provide the necessities for their current students to pass the difficult state tests. Some ways they did this were by charging fees for student parking and extracurricular activities, increasing the average class size to 25-30 in high school, cutting various elective courses, and most drastically, cutting 12 teachers from the middle school and requiring each teacher to teach another subject in which they were not certified in. It is a wonder that the students are able to pass such difficult and specific tests when problems such as these arise in their districts.
The purpose of standardized testing is a gradual step towards national responsibility, however the logistics harm the students when the purpose should be to measure the institutions productivity. What happens to the Beverly High students if they are unable to pass the MCAS test? Theoretically, the student is not allowed to graduate and the high school then recognizes that they must increase their provisions. Instead, the institution often transfers the responsibility to the individual, especially if the majority of the students are still able to pass. In reality the cause for a students failure is a combination of being a product of their institution and personal responsibility, yet their failure often has no recourse for the institution, unless the majority of students are unable to significantly pass. This form of horizontal accountability must be fixed before the students can take personal responsibility for their failure – on a national, standardized level. Simply put, there should not be a standardization of learning until there is a standardization and equality in funding and resources. The intent of equality and similarity in learning is not consistent with equality and similarity in environment.
The current situation is a race. The finish line is clearly marked and the runners are all told that they must reach the point in a given amount of time. The runners are in different situations and positions which affect the manner in which they will run the race. The gun fires and the holder expects that every runner completes the race in the given amount of time, it seems reasonable, and most do. The ones that do not reach the finish line are believed to have failed due mostly to their inabilities, not the position in which they started.
This race is not set in stone, the rules are not definite and change can occur to provide for closer equality in their positions. Since it is impossible to create perfectly similar positions for every runner, the hope is to reduce the likeliness that the finish line is unreachable. Moderate governmental influence in public education would be the improvement. If there were only moderate government influence then children could learn the basic fundamentals of core subjects and still focus their academics on personal interests. The standardized test scores would increase if less specificity were required among it’s subjects and teachers would have ample class time to discuss matters that are relevant to their individual subjects.
The intent of equality and similarity in learning is not consistent with equality and similarity in environment.