“No Child Left Behind”: Pushing Public Education Further Down-Hill.


 

“No Child Left Behind”: Pushing Public Education Further Down-Hill.

Everywhere you look bureaucracy is rapidly transforming America from  local, regional, and State control of human events to Federalized, inefficient, one-size-fits-all mandates calling for: New standards, assessments or testing, computer record keeping that diverts professional time away from those to be served, stifling quality controls, incapacitating regulations and other impediments to individualized quality services.

This is now, and always has been, the way that progressive/socialist, big government, bureaucrats operate. It is through top-down governance rule-making, financial/material rewards for compliance and loss of same for non-compliance (or far worse in some totalitarian regimes).

The Federal take-over of public education was completed long ago. But the Federal control of America’s educational system was significantly increased just over a decade ago, by a Republican.  President George Bush, initiated the “No Child Left Behind” (NCLB) program in America’s schools. It was passed by Congress in 2001 and then signed into law by the President in 2002.

The NCLB has too many layers of complexity that to be fully be explained here. But, its main features included a mandate that all schools funded by Title 1, Federal money meet yearly standards of progress in quality.

Each State was to set its own educational standards, against which students would be tested annually. Based upon this state-wide testing, the progress of students and their individual schools would be evaluated by the Federal Government.

Schools were then required to make annual progress in educating their students.  Any schools that did not improve after two years of assessments were labeled ” In Need Of Improvement”.  Students then were allowed to transfer to better schools in their area. Schools that failed to improve by the third year were required to provide free tutoring to lagging students.

Schools that failed to improve in the fourth year of assessments were designated as “Needing Corrective Action”. This action could include firing the teaching staff.

Failing to improve in the fifth year would require the school to plan for an entire restructuring of the school.

If a school failed to improve in its sixth year of assessment it could be closed, transformed into a charter school, privatized, or taken over by the State Board of Education and run directly by them.

As you can see, by the fourth year professional heads could start to roll. This of course, revealed the weaknesses in this Federally mandated approach. Some criticisms of NCLB are as follows:

  • The Federal Government does not have a Constitutional Authority to control States Educational Systems to this extent.
  • Federal controls are draconian in that if the State conforms to Federal requirements is will receive large amounts of money, if it does not, the money is taken away, or withheld.
  • States constructed their own educational standards. The incentives for States were to set standards lower in order to not place their school systems at risk for closure. Research has demonstrated that differences among State’s educational performance were largely a result of differences in the stringency of their standards.
  • Teachers were motivated to “teach to the test”, thereby narrowing the focus of their teaching to increase the likelihood of increased student test scores. This resulted in a unassessed, though very real, dumbing-down of  participating educational systems.
  • Schools that were making steady and significant progress, but that did not meet absolute standards, were labeled  as failing.
  • Teachers have protested that NCLB has resulted in less time spent teaching children and more time being trained in mandated extra record keeping, more time spent  testing, with less freedom to teach as effectively as they once did.

I have based my synopsis of NCLB on a Wikipedia article on this topic. There you will find more complexity to this Federally mandated program and more criticisms as well.

To learn more about NCLB, consider visiting: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/No_Child_Left_Behind_Act

Please see tomorrow’s post on our Federal Governments new, even greater, intrusion into  America’s State Educational Systems.

Few understand this new, even more destructive, Federal Government mandate to  American Education. Stay tuned for a primer on another educational step-in-the-wrong direction: “Common Core”!

VTM, 3/28/14

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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