No Child Left Behind cannot guarantee academic success

By AJ Edwards

All schools are to have 100 percent of their students meet the state standards set by the No Child Left Behind Act in 2014.

State guidelines were put in place in 2002 to improve students’ efficiency in mathematics and reading, but 11 years later it’s not looking like those requirements are going to be met.

As of 2012, high school graduation rates in Illinois are at 82.3 percent. In 2002, graduation rates were 85.2 percent.

No Child Left Behind also stated it would ensure all students graduate from high school, according to the Illinois State Board of Education.

This program has to be one of the greatest examples of good intentions mixed with poor judgment. To expect schools from across the country to achieve 100 percent of their students meeting state standards is not possible.

“I think that the original intent of the legislation was a really good idea,” said Jennie Hueber, assistant principal at DeKalb High School. “However, the implementation of it and reality that every single school will be at 100 percent by 2014 was rather ridiculous and obviously unachievable.”

Second, it takes away teachers’ abilities to teach to help students learn, so instead they have to teach to a test standard.

My primary issue with No Child Left Behind is how it places such a strong emphasis on test scores. It is forcing teachers to focus on teaching to test standards as opposed to focusing on making sure students are actually learning.

“It is effective teaching practice, not the testing,” Hueber said. “If you know your students know the standards then they will do well on the assessment. Focus on the curriculum and the delivery of the content.”

Another reason why this goal is unattainable is primarily based on the fact the government has not given all schools the tools that they need. Where is the funding and equipment they need?

“The potential for students to achieve these goals is possible,” said education associate professor Cynthia Taines. “But without the proper support it is difficult to achieve these goals. I’d like to see students achieve these goals, but they will need the proper resources.”

Instead of closing down schools in Chicago, why aren’t they receiving the help they need? It’s almost like No Child Left Behind is content with leaving children behind.

“NCLB should be doing the opposite of what it’s doing,” said junior English major Callie Lee. “It should increase funding for schools that are doing poorly in order to help teachers and schools increase education.”

Failing to meet the 100 percent requirement by 2014 forces schools and teachers to look at a rather uncertain future.

“I worry that NCLB will make the stakes so high that it will discourage teachers and future teachers,” Taines said. “The focus on the tests may undermine the engagement for teachers and their ability to spread the love of learning.”

One hundred percent of students meeting required standards is something that cannot be fulfilled.

No Child Left Behind has made it too difficult for teachers to teach students to actually learn, and it is hindering the desires for future teachers to take on those roles.

Education is facing an uncertain and challenging future because of the act’s impossible regulations.