After 10 years, NCLB re-authorization has taken over the media and found it’s way into all of our textbooks. Why? As pre-service teachers, we need to look at how NCLB and high stakes testing will affect our students and how we as teachers allot our time to fulfill curriculum standards. The pressure of high stakes testing influences not only the teacher, but also the principal and the entire school. In the words of Secretary of Education, Arne Duncan, “It’s like taking a hammer to kill an ant” (Weebly, 2012). The pressure of adequate yearly progress influences the tireless effort that schools put into remedial courses, tutoring services and practice tests, all to improve standardized test scores…and in some instances to shut down. More than anything, achieving higher test scores are difficult for students and teachers to produce because of the time required to “teach to the test.” The standardized test is a one size fits all examination that doesn’t account for differing learning styles and students that require accommodations.
The greatest NCLB achievement was the initiative put forth and collect/share data, in order to pin point struggling students and close the achievement gap (Webley, 2012). TIME Magazine reported Why It’s Time to Replace No Child Left Behind and exemplified Rachel Carson Middle School in Herndon, VA. Before NCLB, Rachel Carson’s higher than average scores would have over shadowed the underlying achievement gap. Race, gender and income variables revealed the needs of 69 black, Hispanic, economically disadvantaged kids and special-education children. NCLB proclaimed that 100% of students are required to be proficient in reading and math, leaving 5% of Rachel Carson’s students unaccounted and therefore failing to make annual yearly progress (Webley, 2012)
NCLB fails to see the progression that students make in the classroom. Despite individual strides throughout the year, NCLB holds teachers accountable for failed advancement and lack of “proficiency.” Instead of measuring a teacher’s effectiveness from one test, yearly progress should be tracked through a portfolio and a combination of formative/summative assessments. Former President George Bush said that “you need to measure progress toward the absolute,” but he is worried about “the pressure to have too many goals or measure the wrong thing” (webley, 2012). NCLB fails to measure the achievement of schools and student performance, because the system measures “the results of one fill-in-the-bubble test” (NCLB Turns 10,2012).
In alignment with NCLB, The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) “is a law ensuring services to children with disabilities throughout the nation,” (alignment of idea and nclb, 2007). As part of IDEA, students with disabilities are ensured an Individual Education Program (IEP) and an IEP team. In my classroom the students parents will be involved in the process whenever possible, in addition to a special education teacher, the child when appropriate and other regular education teachers. As a teacher, consulting the IEP is mandatory, as well as consulting master teachers and administrative staff to ensure that the student’s specific needs are met. Classroom inclusion is key for students with disabilities, as well as creating partnerships with families and maintaining communication regarding IEP transitions (Muhlenhaupt, 2002).
Muhlenhaupt, M. (2002). Family and school partnerships for IEP development… Individualized Education Program. Journal Of Visual Impairment & Blindness, 96(3), 175-178.
NCLB Turns 10. (2012). Education Week, 31(15), 26-28.
Ravitch, D. G. (Photographer). (2009). The future of no child left behind. [Print Photo]. Retrieved from http://educationnext.org/the-future-of-no-child-left-behind/
U.S. Department of Education, Office of Special Education Programs. (2007). alignment of idea and nclb. Retrieved from website: http://idea.ed.gov/explore/view/p/,root,dynamic,TopicalBrief,9.
Webley, K. (2012, January 23). Why it’s time to replace no child left behind. TIME , 40-44.