Essay: NCLB and Maryland Schools

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[. . .] The job description of specialists can differ from one district to another and from one school to another. The districts as well as schools need to employ funds from their resources (taken from grants) in order to support the turnaround specialists (Sheldon, 2006).

Figure 2: Maryland State School Improvement Grant Budget Application, Allowable and Non-Allowable Expenditures

(Sheldon, 2006).

The opponents have criticized NCLB on grounds that it has compelled the educators to draw away from soft subjects such as social studies, arts and music to hardened subjects such as math and reading. These two topics comprise most of the MSA tests, hence the focus on them remain steadfast. In extreme cases, some critics went as far as to say that school staff deliberately doctors their student's marks (Schools, 2012). During the past two decades, there have been numerous researches conducted on test based accountability policies in the U.S.; proof in case of NCLB remains paper thin. It's a relatively new policy and there isn't a regulatory group to supervise this national policy at all as of yet.

Many conclusions have been drawn; NCLB has extravagant evidence to furnish in its case by raising the performance level of students at the elementary level, especially in the beginners classes (Rudalevige, 2010). The minority groups were able to gain maximum benefits of the NCLB, particularly the Hispanic students. Apart from that, there isn't evidence as to if there are negative effects either at the top or the bottom of test score dispersion. Rather the newly inducted policy had stepped up the levels of math scores in tests across various distributions (Dee, Jacob, Hoxby, & Ladd, 2013). On a side note, the NCLB couldn't have a stellar effect on reading that much. Some extra understanding is attained upon closer inspection at the workings of this system. For instance, NCLB compelled the average expenditure by the school district by $600 per student (Rudalevige, 2010). The additional investment was done on both student's instructions as well as educational support service.

Suggestions

Outside school sessions: Such programs are initiated during school, after school and on weekends to support the underperforming students with learning opportunities in subjects such as English and math. Most schools have paid for these programs themselves in order to conduct extra instructional sessions.

Concentrating on preparation of tests by routine instructions: Principals and teachers alike have concentrated on prepping students according to the MSA test format in their daily class lectures and assignments. Two sort of tests were taken in consideration for that matter such as:

Brief constructed response (BCR)

Extended constructed response (ECR)

The latter is known as short answers as well as essay questions. The schools following the state standards have embedded it in their curriculum permanently. In words of one teacher, 'there are BCR's all around the school hallway. They are the focus of classroom lectures as of yet. It's the necessary benchmark for measuring the teaching standards'.

Amplifying the time for math and reading: Principals and teachers have stated that they have increased the amount of time spent on math and reading. For instance, in G. Gardner Shugart Middle School, the underperforming students are forbidden from attending art classes as they need to focus more on weak subjects. Apart from that, in Bladensburg Elementary, the principal said that the County has a designated time allocated to math and reading, but we elongated the time in order to focus more on reading and math, whilst lessening the time needed to study social studies because that's mostly where we are weak (The Center for Comprehensive School Reform and Improvement, 2012).

Employing assessment data analytically: The three schools in question make use of quarterly assessments introduced by PGCPS to govern where and how to focus teaching, apart from that; they are used for constructing the school improvement plan too. Principals and teachers have been emphasizing on usage of data to spearhead instructional planning when NCLB was instituted (Kossar, Mitchem, & Ludlow, 2011). In order to meet the aim of enhancing the performance of students, school staff and administration make use of assessment data all-round the year whether it's for instructional council, school instructional management and assessment for staff development.

Concentrating on marginal students: The school needs to pay utmost attention to as well as providing resources to students which are on the verge of proficiency bubble in terms of standard assessments. The teachers and principals observed the convenience with which these students could be worked with as they will probably raise the percentage of students attaining marks proficient for the MSA. In words of one principal, "it's a game of percentage and numbers. You are basically aiming for one big number and most kids can't pull it off whilst very few will, hence the focus is on them. It's a sort of all or nothing-at-all kind of thing" (Issues and Actions: No Child Left Behind Act, 2011).

Appeal to initiate action

Mr. Delaney, the district officials and states are focusing on rearranging the underperforming schools by commencing a state takeover of such schools which is certainly a daunting yet conceivable task. The policymakers have less information on which course of action to take as the present information they have isn't practical to implement.

Most of the people deem that it's the last resort most districts would select, as majority of the districts won't feel comfortable giving up control of schools. Apart from that, some states have commenced hostile takeovers still had some problems to go over if these takeovers are deemed entirely successful at all (Sheldon, 2006). The state officials will be busy with hostile and friendly takeover of schools in contrast and if both can work out in one state. In any case, there are several reasons for a well-managed takeover to be successful while plenty of question marks arise when districts are asked to manage the entire project on their own. Looking at the scale of economies, it's plausible that states with power and political stronghold will have a better chance of governing and managing this entire project (Sheldon, 2006).

So Mr. Delaney, districts which have numerous requirements but less resources will need to collaborate with the state in order to take action in underperforming schools if the states are to manage this task productively.

Bibliography

Dee, T.D., Jacob, B., Hoxby, C., & Ladd, H. (2013). The Impact of No Child Left Behind on Students, Teachers and Schools. U.S.: Brookings Institution Press. Retrieved from: http://faculty.smu.edu/millimet/classes/eco4361/readings/dee%20et%20al%202010.pdf

Editorial Projects in Education Research Center. (2011, Septmber 19). Retrieved from Education Week: http://www.edweek.org/ew/issues/no-child-left-behind/

Ellis, C.R. (2007). No Child Left Behind -- A Critical Analysis. Excelsior. Retrieved from: http://eds.b.ebscohost.com.vlib.excelsior.edu/eds/detail/detail?sid=13942473-32f0-4108-a965-c3a784d24d3d%40sessionmgr112&vid=0&hid=102&bdata=JnNpdGU9ZWRzLWxpdmUmc2NvcGU9c2l0ZQ%3d%3d

Issues and Actions: No Child Left Behind Act. (2011). Retrieved from National Education Association: http://www.nea.org/home/NoChildLeftBehindAct.html

Kossar, K., Mitchem, K., & Ludlow, B. (2011). No Child Left Behind: A National Study of Its Impact on Special Education in Rural Schools. Emerita: West Virginia University,. Retrieved from: http://eds.a.ebscohost.com.vlib.excelsior.edu/eds/detail/detail?sid=b5933ffc-5139-4b99-86a6-89f8fb327efa%40sessionmgr4002&vid=0&hid=4103&bdata=JnNpdGU9ZWRzLWxpdmUmc2NvcGU9c2l0ZQ%3d%3d

Pinder, P.J. (2013). Exploring And Understanding Maryland's Math And Science Teachers' Perspectives On Nclb And Increase Testing: Employing A Phenomenological Inquiry Approach. Excelsoir. Retrieved from: http://eds.b.ebscohost.com.vlib.excelsior.edu/eds/detail/detail?sid=a1699ae2-9bc2-4e59-bf94-83df2dbe8769%40sessionmgr114&vid=0&hid=102&bdata=JnNpdGU9ZWRzLWxpdmUmc2NvcGU9c2l0ZQ%3d%3d

Rudalevige, A. (2010). Adequacy, Accountability and the impact of No Child Left Behind. U.S.: Dickinson College. Retrieved from: http://www.hks.harvard.edu/pepg/PDF/events/Adequacy/PEPG-05-27rudalevige.pdf

Schools, S.T. (2012). The Center for Comprehensive School Reform and Improvement. U.S.: Learning Point Associates. Retrieved from: http://www.centerforcsri.org/pubs/restructuring/KnowledgeIssues1StateTakeovers.pdf

Sheldon, B.N. (2006). Building on State Reform: Maryland School Restructuring. U.S.: Center on Education Policy. Retrieved from: http://www.google.com.pk/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=2&ved=0CDUQFjAB&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.cep-dc.org%2Fcfcontent_file.cfm%3FAttachment%3DNeuman-Sheldon_MDSchRestructuring_092006.pdf&ei=m0TxU6TiMoqd0QXV1IHYAw&usg=AFQjCNFghz0hlYypacSrgH-yX-BLVo1bqQ [END OF PREVIEW]

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