Education No Child Left Behind on January Thesis

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Education

No Child Left Behind

On January 8, 2002, President George W. Bush signed into law the No Child Left Behind Act. This act was a continuation of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 (ESEA) by Congress. In order to satisfy NCLB requirements, schools must prove that each one of its students is proficient, or on grade level, in key educational areas, such as reading and math, by 2014 in order to continue to receive federal funding. Beginning with the 2002 -- 2003 school years, the NCLB required school districts to prepare annual reports for families and the public at large describing academic achievement for the entire district, by individual schools, and by grade level (No Child Left Behind, 2010).

The effects of the No Child Left Behind Act can be seen in many areas. One of these areas is addressed in an article by Beveridge (2010) in which she looked at what the effects of NCLB have had on non-tested subjects, specifically music and arts in the general curriculum. Major consequences on scheduling and funding policies have forced educators to reconsider how support for the arts is looked at. Some of the short-term effects of this law have had troubling implications for subjects that are not evaluated for the purposes of determining adequate yearly progress (AYP), a measure that serves as the basis for all federal funding.

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Although the law states that many subjects designated as core subjects are necessary for preparing students to be successful, only reading, writing, and math skills are evaluated for AYP. The long-term effects of NCLB are not yet clear, but the short-term effects have been detrimental to all non-tested subjects, especially those courses that are typically considered electives. Specific problems for arts classes have stemmed from a combination of the manner in which states have carried out NCLB assessments and the funding process that was used prior to NCLB. These problems have changed how administrators and teachers approach arts classes in respect to funding, professional development, and scheduling (Beveridge, 2010).

Thesis on Education No Child Left Behind on January Assignment

Another area that has been affected by this act is in the area of how teachers are going about making sure that students are proficient and on grade level. One of the models that have been used is that of the value-added model. The effects of this model were looked at in an article by Caillier (2010). In an effort to correct for perceived deficiencies in the No Child Left Behind Act, value-added models were proposed as a way to find out how much students learned in schools and classrooms throughout the school year. What has brought about a lot of controversy regarding the value-added model is the attempt to link pay and tenure to performance. In this article, a theoretical framework is introduced that examines the likely success of using value-added assessments as a pay-for-performance tool. After applying the theory, the author suggests that caution should be used when utilizing value-added assessments to pay teachers for student learning.

The author thinks that there are many alternatives, besides value-added assessments, which can be used to judge teacher effectiveness, and schools should employ those models that best identify good teaching. Additionally, school factors such as class size and teacher quality should be used to increase learning outcomes, and schools should seek to adopt these. Secondly, factors other than pay such as working conditions serve to motivate teachers. And for that reason, schools should use the motivational factors that will achieve the best results. Lastly, in changing organizational environments, teachers' understanding of goals and objectives is not a given, so school systems should seek to clarify these expectations. Because of all of these factors the author believes that caution should be used when adopting the value-added model to pay-for-performance (Caillier, 2010).

Enhancing children's literacy achievement has been identified as a top priority in education policy and research. Recent federal policies and legislation, such as the No Child Left Behind Act and the Reading First Act, have placed special emphasis on academic readiness for children from disadvantaged backgrounds. In a project carried out by Massetti (2009), the effect of the Stony Brook Emergent Literacy Project was evaluated. This is an approach that combines teacher training, classroom-based activities, and teacher-evaluated performance using rubrics to target preschoolers' emergent literacy skills.

Ten Head Start classrooms were matched and randomly assigned to implement the Literacy Project or serve as the comparison group. Teachers in Literacy Project classrooms implemented 20 group activities and evaluated children's mastery of skills during the activities through rubrics. Children were assessed on their emergent literacy skills by independent evaluators at the beginning and end of the school year. Classrooms that implemented the Literacy Project demonstrated gains in children's emergent literacy skills over the course of the academic year. Results demonstrate the effect of implementing the Literacy Project on children's growth in emergent literacy skills and emphasize the utility of including explicit emergent literacy instruction in early childhood (Massetti, 2009).

The NCLB is one of the most difficult federal education policies in the history of the United States. One of the goals of NCLB is to close the achievement gap that exits between white, economically advantaged students and those who are considered at risk for school failure. Research has shown that in addition to poor academic performance, the risk factors for school failure are overwhelmingly social factors. Nonetheless, NCLB primarily addresses academic failure, leaving many children at risk for poor school performance. Although NCLB tries to address school failure as an academic problem with academic interventions, a social work perspective would consider other risk factors that are associated with school failure. For example, school social workers often rely on the ecological perspective which is the interaction between person and environment when assessing problems in school. From this perspective the risk factors for poor school performance are linked not only to school factors, but also to factors within the community, neighborhood, family, home, along with personal characteristics of the student. Even though NCLB has been the subject of a great deal of debate, it has received only intermittent attention in the school social work literature. In an article by Lagana-Riordan and Aguilar (2009), a body of scholarly literature was looked at in regards to this. It showed that the NCLB policy, which was intended to help at-risk students, does not address many of the social problems that contribute to the achievement gap.

The goal of the No Child Left Behind Act is to help all children. But each individual school being able to pull this off has been questionable. Without any real direction within the law on how schools are supposed to achieve this proficiency many gaps have been identified. In an article by Derthick and Dunn (2009), these gaps were looked at and many were found.

In primary and secondary education, the Bush Administration, with substantial help from Democrats in Congress, pushed federal policy decisively into a different and deeply problematic realm in which the federal government seeks to sanction public schools for failing to produce well-educated children. The aim is of course admirable, with its emphasis on closing the achievement gap and ending the soft bigotry of low expectations. The trouble, keenly felt by the nation's teachers, is that the performance of school children depends not only on the motivation, effort, and skill of their teachers, but also on a host of social, economic, cultural, and psychological factors that are beyond the reach of the schools. Above all, performance depends on the family environment of the children. In his classic work on government agencies, James Q. Wilson classified schools as coping organizations in which administrators cannot tell how much students have learned except with the use of standardized tests that do not clearly differentiate between what the teacher has imparted and what the student has really learned. The problem is that there is a temptation to suppose that schools can be transformed into production organizations without significant cost to their efficacy (Derthick and Dunn, 2009).

There is no doubt that schools need to be held accountable for the teaching that goes on within their school but making them accountable for the learning that goes on seem a little unfair. Since there are so many other factors that play into whether a child learns something or not the idea of basing success or not strictly on the results of standardized tests is questionable. With each state left to their own devices to decide what is on their standardized test it is very easy for some to skew the tests in their favor. It seems that the only fair way to measure success is to have one standardized test for all states and base the idea of success on several factors and not just the test scores. The standardized test scores will work to measure how each student is being taught but they are not going to take into account all the other factors that going into learning.

Each child is an individual and should be… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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