No Child Left Behind Act does not benefit all schools

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Madison Hatfield - News Editor

With the No Child Left Behind Act deadline approaching, the ordinance is once again of public concern.  Initiated in 2002, the No Child Left Behind Act funds schools that score “proficient” on state administered tests. Unfortunately, this expectation is highly unattainable, as several subgroups must also score within this range in order for the entire school to pass.  This means that not only does the majority or average of the school has to score “proficient,” but the school’s ethnic and social minorities must also score within the standard. However, if schools do not meet this standard, they will be forced in to Program Improvement (PI) until they meet the standards.  PI is a multi-step program that helps schools reach their academic goals and eventually meet the standards for the No Child Left Behind Act. This act, though beneficial in theory, is proven to be unfair in practice. It is highly unlikely that the majority of students in schools will score “proficient” or “advanced” in state testing. Therefore, forcibly enrolling schools that have failed to meet the standards in PI is simply unjust.

Most students view statewide testing as a time of relaxation and do not perform to the best of their abilities. Some students do not understand the importance of standardized test scores for their school and academic community. This misconception can cause students to not take the tests as seriously and their schools will suffer as a result. Though believing that students can score “proficient” or “advanced” is an encouraging goal, this goal is simply unrealistic.

Refusing schools that have not met the requirement to receive funds is extremely unfair. Although they may not have met the standard, state test scores may not directly correlate to the intelligence of the student body. This act can force Blue Ribbon schools such as CHS, which are known for its academic achievements, into PI. In other words, the state believes that the schools’ programs need to be improved due to low test scores.  However, if a school is not meeting the standard, withholding necessary funds can be far more disadvantageous than the low test scores.  Also, allowing schools to be put into PI can potentially be detrimental to the learning process in the long run.

Despite the fact that the act was implemented with good intentions, the No Child Left Behind Act is not sensible as it allows for schools to be refused funds and forces high academic-achieving schools to restructure their programs even if they do not need to reevaluate their policies.