The Controversy over the No Child Left Behind Act/ Parent Involvement
The Controversy over the No Child Left Behind Act/ Parent involvement The No Child Left behind Act is the central issue of debates in the educational arena. In wanting to provide accountability and close the achievement gaps between various sub-groups of the population, the federal government enacted NCLB in 2002. The act focuses on four pillars: stronger accountability, freedom for states and communities, proven educational methods, and more choices for parents. Since its inception, it has been surrounded by controversy.
The (NCLB) divided decision makers from local school systems all the way to the federal level. My stand on this topic is when parents will be held accountable. What will be done to parents who do not take an active role in their Childs education? The (NCLB) has put plans in place to hold school and teachers accountable what will they do for parents that are not highly qualified. Places all of the blame and changes on schools and teachers is not the answer because learning starts at home and parents are the first teachers.
The Controversy over the No Child Left Behind Act/ Parent Involvement Essay Example
President Bush signed The No Child Left behind Act (NCLB) in 2001, and it was enacted in 2002. It is the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965, which itself was reauthorized in 1994. The NCLB expanded the role of the federal government in education and has become the pivotal point of public education, spurring debates amongst for anyone interested. The act is aimed at improving education of disadvantaged students by holding states, schools, and educators accountable for student progress. Education Week September 21, 2004). There are four pillars to the NCLB, accountability being foremost. Annual academic testing is a key element in accountability and must be completed by each state every year. These tests compare the students to each other in their given state of residence. By the school year 2013/2014 the states must bring all students up to the “proficient” level. Individual schools must also make “adequate yearly progress” (AYP) for students and sub-groups of students.
If schools receiving Title I funds fail to make AYP two years in a role, they must offer another public school choice to students that choose to leave that school. (Education Week September 21, 2004) Teachers, under the NCLB, must be “highly qualified. ” This means that teachers must demonstrate competency in the content area they teach, by being certified in their given area. The paraprofessionals that are hired with Title I funds must hold an associate’s degree or higher or demonstrate competency.
The act in general, is designed around all stakeholders in a child’s education is to be held accountable, including the parents. (Education Week September 21, 2004) Parents are informed regularly on student progress and in their areas of strengths and weaknesses, as well as the schools progress in education the students. Parents are encouraged to partner with the school in educating the students. In 2002 when the NCLB was enacted, it was legislated for 5 years. It was expected to be renewed, with no second thought, in 2007.
It turns out that when the act was up for renewal, according to White (2009), the Senate Democrats were divided on the issue and most of the Republicans despised it. The Act was put aside to contemplate reform ideas. It was put on the back burner until January of 2009. President Obama, during his campaign, stated he is in favor of public education and against publicly funded vouchers to pay for private school education. He vowed to fix the many problems of the NCLB, some of which are pay raises for teachers and a redesign of the high-stake test to support learning without punishing teachers. White, 2007) Supporters of the NCLB believe with the federal government that accountability, with an emphasis on testing, will improve the quality of public education. They also believe setting standards of achievement and providing resources, especially in disadvantaged schools, will level the playing field for all. The opposition, major teacher unions and some parents, claim that the act has not improved education and which is evidenced by the high-stake testing results. They claim the tests themselves are flawed and biased.
There is some that feel that the federal government has no place legislating for education, it should be left up to the individual states. My take on this, as an educator for the past ten years is that I agree that instruction should be aligned to standards. I think the teachers should be highly knowledgeable in the content area they are teaching. The only problem I have with standards is that they should be “national standards. ” I see too many students transferring from various states that are either behind or ahead of where we are when they enter the system.
I also believe there is too much pressure put on the teachers to perform on the standardized tests. I have taught in a school system that was deemed “needs improvement. ” I can honestly say the teachers were doing everything they could to get the school to make AYP; we had no support from home. We are teaching the standards set forth by the state, we felt the pressure of student performance. My argument is that the only part of the accountability piece of NCLB that is not being addressed is the role of the parent.
The school systems and teachers are providing progress to the parents and living up to their end of the NCLB. Are the parents doing their part? We are lucky if we see 100 parents on parent night, report card night, etc. We need more parent support; teachers cannot do it all. Parents need to step up to the plate and take an active role in their child’s education. The home is the first place where learning starts and the parent is the first teacher a child has in life. Parental involvement in a child’s life has a major effect on a child having a successful education.
When parents provide structure, support, and guidance in the home the child has a higher success rate than those that don’t have these three critical factors. When a child is nurtured at home, has a parent that shows interest and becomes involved in the child’s, education it gives the teacher a better chance at teaching a child. The parent’s positive attitude about school and education is imperative to a child’s achievement and success. When a parent demonstrates a positive attitude about school and learning then, more than likely, the child will have a positive outlook about his or her education.
Parents cannot put all the responsibility on the education system; they must take an active role in their child’s education because no matter what plan or act that is put in place, teaching and learning start at home first, and we need more parent support. References No child left behind. (2004). Education week spotlight. Retrieved November 5, 2010, from http://www. edweek. org/ew/issues/no-child-left-behind/ White, D. (2009). Pros & cons of the No Child Left behind Act. Us Liberal Politics. Retrieved November 4, 2010, from http://usliberals. about. com/od/education/i/NCLBProsCons2. htm