Jumps in Education

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Jumps in Education

In 2001, the Bush Administration passed a landmark movement in education: the No Child Left Behind Act. Criticized many times, it is said to look successful in theory, yet fail in practice. However the following three reasons affirm its positive role in the field of education. The No Child Left Behind Act has lead to the dawn of better students, more skilled educational professionals, and more focused school administrators.

First, No Child Left Behind has made better students, which is good for academic achievement. One good way to measure students’ academic achievement, is through test scores, which have been increasing. The Department of Education of February 2nd, 2009, “For America's nine-year-olds in reading, more progress was made in five years than in the previous 28 combined. America's nine-year-olds posted the best scores in reading (since 1971) and math (since 1973) in the history of the report. America's 13-year-olds earned the highest math scores the test ever recorded. Reading and math scores for African American and Hispanic nine-year-olds reached an all-time high. Math scores for African American and Hispanic 13-year-olds reached an all-time high. Achievement gaps in reading and math between white and African American nine-year-olds and between white and Hispanic nine-year-olds are at an all-time low. In the last two years, the number of fourth-graders who learned their fundamental math skills increased by 235,000—enough to fill 500 elementary schools!” Students are performing better on tests and are becoming smarter, which is a clear benefit to Academic Achievement. Furthermore, not only are the minorities increasing in academic achievement, but the No Child Left Behind Act has given the same opportunity to disabled children as well. According to the National Council on Disability on January 28, 2008, “In our evaluation of NCLB, students with disabilities appear to be doing better academically, and they also appear to be graduating with diplomas and certificates at higher rates than in prior years” Now, rather than before, an increase in achievement is occurring throughout all subgroups in education. By encouraging students to work harder and learn their subjects better, it is clear that No Child Left Behind has indeed improved Academic Achievement within the United States.

Second, No Child Left Behind has improved teachers in the United States. Now that teachers are required to learn more, and to become more certified, they have improved their core skills. Debora White, a member of the California Democratic State Central Committee, said, “The No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) resulted in all public school students, not just those in affluent or well-funded school districts, to be taught by well-qualified, competent teachers.” And it is indeed important that educational professionals are good at their jobs, and as the US Department of Education of 2004 reports, “teachers are one of the most critical factors in how well students achieve. For instance, studies in both Tennessee and Texas found that students who had effective teachers greatly outperformed those who had ineffective teachers. In the Tennessee study, students with highly effective teachers for three years in a row scored 50 percentage points higher on a test of math skills than those whose teachers were ineffective.” Because teachers now need dual certification, and because teachers are better at their jobs, which lead to better student performance, it is clear that, better teachers do indeed increase Academic Achievement.

Third, the No Child Left Behind Act has brought awareness to school administrators. Before the time of No Child Left Behind, the academic performance of minority groups did not receive attention, rather the excelling groups were the only ones that were significant. Darla Marburger, the deputy assistant secretary for policy at the Department of Education on August 21, 2005, notes that, “Prior to No Child Left Behind, states were required to report student performance but they were not being required to hold their schools accountable based on subgroup performance. States had accountability plans but those accountability plans did not necessarily have a focus on having all students proficient.” The failing minorities did not matter in a United States without No Child Left Behind. PBS goes on to state on August 21, 2005 that, “NCLB placed specific demands on states and school districts forcing them to hold schools accountable for failing students, requiring them to monitor student progress annually.” After the act was instated, attention was already developed and diverted towards the ones in need. The National Council on Disability continues, “Of the most important results of NCLB appears to be that students with disabilities are no longer ignored. Teachers, administrators, and the community are becoming aware of what students with disabilities are capable of achieving if they are held to the same high standards and expectations as their peers.” The No Child Left Behind act has doubtlessly increased academic achievement by opening the eyes of the administration, to help the needy.

In conclusion, the No Child Left behind has had a definite positive impact on United States education due to the fact that students are better, teachers are better, and schools have begun focusing more on their students. In essence, the goals that the public thought weren’t being achieved have actually been reached, and with further revision within the system, education will reach its peak in quality.





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