The No Child Left Behind Act puts non-English speaking students at a disadvantage

The No Child Left Behind Act puts non-English speaking students at a disadvantage

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Ella Morner-Ritt - Staff Writer

The No Child Left Behind Act has greatly affected school systems in the United States. This act was viewed positively for working to prepare children for college until the NCLB Act cut out recesses for elementary school children. However, the act received no criticism when the program cut funds for bilingual classes. Due to these cuts, children entering school whose first language is not English cannot learn how to read and write in their native tongue. These cuts force children to jump through hoops to learn how to read, write and speak English when they do not even understand the fundamentals of their own language. These children are performing poorly on standardized tests, therefore the schools receive less funding from the government. Ultimately, the NCLB Act leaves many non-English speaking students academically far behind their peers.

These children are essentially walking into a foreign language class without even being able to spell in their own language. In the United States, learning a second language such as Spanish or French is hard enough when the teacher speaks to the class in English. The NCLB Act has made this even more difficult for foreign students, since teachers are not permitted to speak to them in their first language; they can only speak to them in English. Children who do not speak English and unable to take a bilingual class to learn English are ironically left behind by the school system.

Expecting these children who enrolled in school not knowing English to do well on standardized tests that are in English is naive and unfair. The children who do not score well on standardized tests bring down the overall grade of the school, thus forcing their funds from the NCLB Act to go down as well. Taking away a school’s funding is supposed to punish them rather than encourage them to do better. By taking away money, there is no way to improve a school or the education teachers are giving their students. Taking away funds is a punishment that will put students behind and will overall decrease the motivation of teachers and administrators.

Reforms should be made on the NCLB Act, for bilingual classes should be revived to make America stay true to its promise that it offers a better life to people outside the nation. Education needs to be inclusive rather than exclusive to those in minorities. America should offer a better life and future for young people. The NCLB Act should stand for a better education for all.