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Involve the Children: Revising the NCLB Policy

The article “NCLB and Democracy” by Deborah Meier gives a different perspective of the NCLB Policy. While existing literatures (Greatschools on this topic suggest a comprehensive and progressive achievement by its advocates, Meier lays down its weaknesses, and claims that it does not promote the benefit of the children, rather undermine their academic and personal progress. The No Child Left Behind Policy was borne out of the motive of promoting quality education for every child in the United States.

In line with it, educational researchers claim that it reaches out to every child despite multicultural background and academic performance. However, Meier presents a different account of the policy, stating that it only leaves behind more children by the policies it has set to improve the performance of schools. Meier reports that the NCLB sets standardized tests and other criteria to assess overall school performance. These standards have been made by bureaucrats who might have come from elite schools, and not from common public schools with average or socio-economically poor students.

Standards, once they have been set, have to be achieved no matter what the cost. In this sense, schools are forced to keep up with the curriculum being dictated by the school boards, thus leaving behind the specific needs of every child in some poor states. Standardized curriculum also defeats the purpose of giving priority to each student. Because educators from high-performing schools are the ones who set them up, they do not represent the level of some inner state schools which may have lower levels of academic ability.

On the one hand, setting up standards may help every school to achieve and perform highly, but on the other hand, these standards may have a negative effect of low-performing schools. By trying to pull up low-performing schools to some academic standards, the NCLB worsens the situation by making the schools exert much efforts they could not maintain, and because they cannot meet the set standards, these schools remain at the bottom line in the allocation of state school budget. Aside from the worsening academic scenario, the NCLB Policy pushes individual students to become products of the consumerist world.

The criteria to make each student conscious of achieving their best intellectually, and meeting the global standards have set their minds to responding to the needs of the world. Consequently, this gives them a mindset of neglecting their own needs as persons. Looking at real academic scenarios, we may note that schools focus more on developing students’ knowledge and skills, without much consideration on their emotional aspects, such as how they should handle difficult situations they would encounter in life.

Moreover, lessons in college deal with how students should perform in the corporate world, and not on how each could develop patience and service—the values one can rely on to remain in one’s job. Overall, Meier emphasizes that the implementers of NCLB have devised ways which only leave behind many children who cannot cope with the standards. Also, it leaves educators to torment students with review tests in order to score well in standardized tests, and improve their school’s ranking.

In this consideration, Meier calls for a reversal of the situation in the academic area. In order to live up to its name, it is important to review some rules of the NCLB policy, for instance, giving due regard to children in low-performing schools, as they are the very reasons why this policy was made. Specifically, Meier identifies that the efforts Mission Hill School has made serve as examples on how to improve the NCLB Policy. First, proper representation of all schoolchildren should be implemented.

This can only be achieved if the state board would listen from student representatives themselves. Second, communities and families which make up the child’s educational background should also be considered when trying to implement rules or standards. Cultural, economic, and socio-political aspects should likewise be considered when revising the policy to ensure that no child and no aspect will be “left behind. ”

Reference

What the no child left behind policy means for your child. (2008). Retrieved April 29, 2008, from http://www. greatschools. net/cgi-bin/showarticle/205

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