NCLB Becoming a Teacher in Today's Educational Research Paper

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Becoming a teacher in today's educational environment means so much more than just learning how to teach a favorite subject, more than finishing all of the required education, more than completion of student teaching, then finally finding a school district or school willing to hire and with a position that fits the candidate's capabilities that one might wonder if it is truly worth the effort it takes to accomplish such a feat, especially when considering the effects of the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) act on the teaching profession.

Many experts contend that the NCLB act is one of a noble purpose that has as its premise an objective that no individual can ethically argue against. On its face, the act is one that provides education to everyone (which is the sole entire reason for a free public education) no matter what physical, physiological or mental disabilities an individual might have. That being said, the NCLB may have had a negative impact on the manner in which many teachers now approach the art of teaching. Additionally, the Act may be affecting the number and quality of teachers who are entering the field of education. Furthermore the Act may be spawning constraints on certain educational programs such as the field of Arts.

One recent report states "so much of teaching is now driven by data (i.e., test scores) and dictated by "best practices" that teachers are losing confidence in their own creativity. Yet, despite these unfortunate consequences of No Child Left Behind (NCLB), the important work of teachers remains unchanged" (Bunting, 2007, p. 12).

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The NCLB Act changed the perception of many teachers and the realities of education even more. As an example, now school districts are required to provide almost all medical services (as long as they can be provided by anyone other than a physician) which can be very time consuming and distracting in a classroom.

Research Paper on NCLB Becoming a Teacher in Today's Educational Assignment

Previously, some school districts were able to claim that their responsibilities were limited to providing only those services that a registered nurse (or someone who could be trained as such) could administer. Some courts agreed with that argument as well as the one that stated school districts could also deny services that might be too expensive to the district.

Additionally, the Supreme Court has now raised the bar even further for school districts in regards to the care they must provide for individuals with disabilities. These constraints can be viewed as only distractions when compared to the Act's requirements for students to pass yearly tests used to determine their progress in reading, math and science. Students must now pass these tests in order to continue progressing through the education system. Schools and districts are charged with ensuring that the students do so, and are graded on the student's results.

Bunting writes "The average classroom is a pressure cooker crammed with so many shoulds, oughts, and musts that creativity, joy, and a sense of teacher ownership have lost their place in the conversation about teaching" (p. 13).

New teachers, and future teachers will now have to be on constant alert for situations involving these special education students. Most courts have said that it is the school's responsibility to discern which students have these disabilities and then develop an IEP for that student. A teacher must then keep track of those individuals in the classroom, and make the necessary concessions to facilitate the opportunity for that individual to gain an equal education. Not only does that make teaching a more time consuming affair but it has the possibility to take away attention from other students not having the same disabilities.

Besides the effort to provide more care and attention to those disabled individuals, the teachers could possibly be affected in other ways as well. One way could be financial in manner.

If funds are being targeted towards the disabled individuals and their caretakers or aides, then those same funds are being diverted from other areas, including; teacher's pay, purchasing books and even classroom supplies.

These factors and more can put pressure on the teachers to 'teach to the test." Since the teachers are judged by their student's results and the simplest method for getting those results might be to teach the students specifics according to the tests, then it makes sense that many teachers would do so.

Teachers often feel forced into obtaining results at the expense of teaching to learn. This pressure could be a reason why many teachers are leaving the field at just the time when good teachers are needed most. Not only are many good teachers leaving, but the NCLB has made it much more difficult for those individuals wishing to enter the field of education to do so. One recent report showed that many promising young students seeking to become teachers are being held up by the NCLB's 'highly qualified' requirements. The report states "The door to the teaching profession seemed to be closing. The state was desperately seeking "highly qualified" teachers, but Hope (a prospective teacher) was being rejected. The very tests designed to ensure teachers' qualifications appeared to be disqualifying a very promising candidate" (Wakefield, 2007).

With all these signs many teachers see the writing on the wall concerning how they keep their jobs and that would be through teaching to the test, in that manner they would ensure that the students passed the requirements, the school administration did not lose funding, and their own jobs and careers were safe.

One expert espoused that "It's arguable that NCLB is an autoimmune response. NCLB was intended to raise education levels by holding schools responsible for student performance. Is it possible that instead of improving the entire system, NCLB constrains real reform by requiring rigid and narrow measures that restrict the type of learning in the 21st century?" (Martinez, 2010, p. 73).

If that is true, then it is probably true that unless some changes are wrought in a timely manner, the problem will only continue to grow and fester. Many thought that with the election of a new President changes would be swift forthcoming. However, that hope may be dwindling as well. A recent report shows "the federal law's requirements for states -- such as expanding standardized testing to measure adequate yearly progress, or ayp, in reading and math, and meting out rewards and penalties for schools based on student performance -- have simply been followed by other, mostly unproven approaches put forth by President Obama" (Maxwell, 2010). Additionally the report of state lawmakers states "although the Obama administration's school improvement priorities differ from those outlined in the NCLB law, the approach is really the same" (Maxwell). Changing the priorities of the NCLB Act may make political sense, but if the teachers are still on the frontline teaching to the test, will the culture be any different? Probably not.

Paul Chance a noted education author wrote "change, said the Roman philosopher Lucretius 2000 years age, is the only constant" (Chance, 2009, p. 2). When the federal government gets involved in what is normally considered the state's agenda, oftentimes the change being sought brings about more disaster than improvement.

An example of how the NCLB, though well intentioned has negatively affected the educational industry is through a recent study that found that the impact of NCLB on art education was negative in nature. The study showed that in "areas of overall impact, the impression was much more negative. Sixty-seven percent believe the bill has not helped their students become better learners; 75% felt that NCLB has not improved the quality of student work; and some 89% claimed that the bill has had a negative effect on faculty morale" (Eisele-Dyrli, 2010, p. 18).

Many experts believed that the Obama administration would do away with the state tests, however, that did not happen. One report showed "One thing that would carry over from the NCLB era, however, is the yearly schedule for assessing students" (Klein, McNeil, 2010). Nothing has really changed and students, teachers, administrators and schools are still going to be judged by the yearly tests. Teachers therefore will be pressured into teaching to the test, which may be having a long-term negative impact on the educational system overall.

Works Cited

Bunting, C. (2007) Teachers get personal about teaching to survive NCLB, Education Digest, Vol. 72, Issue 5, pp. 12 -- 15

Chance, P. (2009) Learning and Behavior, Belmont, CA: Wadsworth Press

Eisele-Dyrli, K. (2010) Study finds impact of NCLB on art education generally negative, District Administration, Vol. 46, Issue 3, p. 18

Klein, A. & McNeil, M.; (2010) Administration unveils ESEA reauthorization blueprint, Education Week, Vol. 29, Issue 25

Martinez, M. (2010) Imponderable or ponderables?, Phi Delta Kappan, Vol.

91, Issue 5, pp. 72 -- 73

Maxwell, L.A. (2010) State lawmakers warn of federal intrusion, Education Week, Vol. 29, Issue 21

Wakefield, D. (2007) NCLB keeps some great teaching candidates out forever, Education Digest, Vol. 72, Issue 5

Bunting, C.

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