What Does “No Child Left Behind” Mean To You?
Posted by Catherine Morgan on February 7, 2007
picture by © oldpp
What Does “No Child Left Behind” Mean To You? — by Catherine Morgan (originally posted on my political site — INFORMED VOTERS)
The name, “No Child Left Behind”, is a great name, and I am 100% on board with not leaving any children behind. I mean really, how can you NOT support this policy? Nobody wants to leave the children behind. It reminds me a lot of the Bush administration’s policy in Iraq, if you’re against the policy, you’re against the troops. How convenient, slap a good name on a bad policy, and humiliate everyone into accepting it. It’s really very smart when you think about it, you can take most of the hard work out of policy making, just as long as you have a good PR person to whip up a catchy name. In the long run, I think our kids would be better served with a less glamorous name, and a policy that didn’t leave them behind.
With that said, there are many aspects of this policy, and I am not going to be able to address each one on this one post. Although, as always, I am looking forward to hearing all of your views, on all sides of this issue. But, for the sake of time, I’m just going to tell you the “nuts and bolts” of why I consider, “No Child Left Behind”, to be just a glorified name, masquerading as good public policy. You might want to check this site out as well, Gambling with the Children.
From a mother’s point of view. It seems contraindicated for teachers to be teaching “techniques” to pass one test, in-place of actually teaching subjects. Let me put it this way. Would you want to go to a doctor, who went to a medical school, that actually taught the field of medicine? Or one that just taught how to pass the boards? I would venture to guess that most of us want our doctor to actually know something about medicine, not just be able to take the test to become a doctor, right? So why would we want anything less for our children? Have you seen many bumper stickers that say, “Proud to be the mother of a child who can pass a test”?
Of course, I don’t blame the teachers, they have to do this, because the school will lose federal funding if it doesn’t do well on this one test. See the problem? But, for students to be successful in life, school needs to be about more than just taking tests. And right now, it’s not. Essentially, all the children are being left behind, because of a policy designed to regulate federal funding for education, with one test.
I haven’t even touched on the fact, that the schools that need the money the most, are the ones that find it more difficult to pass these tests, and in turn lose federal funding. So, without the funding, they can’t exactly improve their ability to pass these tests. It is kind of the opposite of, “the rich get richer” theme. See the problem? More children left behind.
I don’t know how it is in other states, but in Florida, a student can have a 4.0 GPA, but fail the FCAT, and not graduate from high school. In other words, if your child is feeling ill, or upset on the day of the test and doesn’t pass, they will not graduate. If you are thinking, well that would never happen, let me assure you, it does. In fact, many seniors at my son’s school, will just drop out in the beginning of their senior year without even trying, because they know they didn’t pass the FCAT, so why should they bother? If you ask me, that seems like a few children being left behind.
I understand how troubling it would be for our government to change it’s policy on education, to actually reflect the name “No Child Left Behind”. So, in the interest of full disclosure, maybe just changing the name would be in order, something that truly reflects the current policy. I have an idea, we could just call it what it is, and then turn it into a game show……”Testing For Dollars”.
Too harsh? Not harsh enough? Let me know what you think.