Pros and Cons of the No Child Left Behind Act

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No Child Left Behind (NCLB) started under the premise that American children were falling behind the rest of the world with their education. This act was to bring a focus on regular testing so that gaps in learning could be identified and then rectified. Has it been implemented effectively? Here is a look at the pros and cons of No Child Left Behind.

The Pros of NCLB

1. Test scores have increased consistently.
Since the implementation of NCLB in 2002, test scores have risen consistently. The largest increases have been seen in the minority populations in the US, which has helped to shrink the overall achievement gap that has been seen between Caucasians and minorities for decades.

2. Teachers have become more qualified.
The number of classes that are being taught by qualified teachers has risen by 90% since the implementation of NCLB. This means children are able to learn from the best.

3. Failing schools can be identified.
In the past, schools could cover up some of their statistics through creative grading. With standardized testing and minimum requirements in place, schools don’t have any place to hide. This lets a failing school become identified as such and then repaired so the children can learn more effectively.

The Cons of NCLB

1. There really isn’t any learning going on.
Because the standardized tests are the gauge of success or failure in NCLB, teachers are just teaching what is on the test instead of giving children a general education. This is especially prevalent in places where the salary of the teacher is directly linked to the test results that are achieved.

2. There is no individuality.
Students are all held to the exact same standard, no matter what their economic status, social background, or natural talents happen to be. The only exempted students from NCLB are those with severe mental or physical disabilities.

3. Creative subjects are disappearing.
Because a school’s finances rely upon student performance, the creative classes that have traditionally been taught, such as art and music, are rapidly disappearing from schools. Not only does this depress the children who are naturally talented in this areas, but it could affect the overall test scores as well.

The pros and cons of No Child Left Behind are rather mixed. There are some successes, but there are some potential failures as well. Should it be continued? Only a complete look at all of the pros and cons can help us to make that decision.