No Child Left Behind
New York, May 12, 2006—The No Child Left Behind Act, signed into law by President Bush on January 8, 2002, is a bill intended to effect sweeping reforms in education. Extensive standardized testing, rigorous requirements to demonstrate that teachers are “highly qualified,” and federal funding that is conditional upon schools showing adequate yearly progress are among the law’s hallmarks.
In an informal online poll that ran from February 25 to April 21, 2006, visitors to TeachersCount.org were asked how effective they believe No Child Left Behind to be in improving public school education. In total there were 586 respondents, 424 of whom described themselves as educators.
Of all respondents, 6% answered “very effective;” 13.8% said “somewhat effective;” 20.5% said “somewhat ineffective;” and 52.4% said “very ineffective.” 7.3% were either “neutral” or “not sure.”
The educators’ appraisal of the law was slightly more negative than that of the non-educators. 78.1% of educators called the bill “somewhat ineffective” or “very ineffective,” whereas only 60% of non-educators chose one of those answers.
The poll invited respondents to comment, and many of them did. Below is a sampling of comments arranged by response:Very effective
- “I love the different tools and books it brought to our classrooms.”
- “We need measurements to make sure we reach minimum standards.”
- “School administrators and teachers who oppose NCLB need to view this act as a work in progress. Its aim is just what this country needs--to raise the standard of education.”
- “It has placed minority and other subgroups in the spotlight, at times forcing the public school education system to make much needed improvements.”
- “While NCLB does have some positive impact on students' attainment of certain measurable academic goals, the small good is outweighed by the damage caused by the corresponding narrowing of the curriculum.”
- “In our district, it's helping some, but the overemphasis on minimum standards is 'leaving behind' the brightest students.”
- “Though NCLB was intended to increase accountability and performance, it instead destroys creativity and innovation in the classroom by encouraging teachers to focus on testing that does not measure a student's academic ability in an authentic manner.”
- “Kids are human, all with different ability levels, interests, and support systems. If they were pieces of machinery, this law would be great.”