The No Child Left Behind Act Essay

Introduction

The No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 was passed in the year 2001 by the House of Representatives. This is also known in the United States as NCLB. This federal law was signed in January the year 2002. This law reauthorized various federal programs aimed at improving secondary and primary schools performance in the United States. This is by increasing the accountability standards for schools, school districts and states. This also includes providing students’ parents with the flexibility of choosing the schools that their children can attend.  This also created an increased focus on reading. (Heller, 2000)

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In the NCLB legislation deals with theories of education reform that are standard based. Initially, it was known as an education that is outcome based. This is based on the belief that goal setting and high expectation always results in the overall success of student performance. It is a requirement in the Act that an assessment criterion has to be given to students in specific grades. (Fred, and Allan, 2006)

This is in line with the basic skills that the students have acquired. In the NCLB, a national achievement standard is not preferred but rather the standards are set at the state level. It is a requirement in the Act to distribute the student’s particulars to the military recruiters. Such information includes the address, telephone contacts and the names of every student. This has to be done unless the student’s parents are not for it.

Many people debate on the desirability and the effectiveness of the measures of NCLB. Some of the critics say that NCLB plays a big role in reducing student learning and effective instruction. This is because it can influence the state to lower the necessary goals for achievement. This can also play a big role in motivating teachers to cry out teaching to the test. Some scholars assert that when systematic testing is carried out, it provides data which helps in showing the schools that are not teaching the basic skills quite effectively. This is done such that such that such interventions can be put in place to help in reducing the gap of achievement especially for the disadvantaged and the disabled students.

Quality of teachers

According to the No Child Behind Act, it is a requirement that all the teachers in primary and secondary schools be highly qualified.  The Act stipulates that a highly qualified teacher is one that has the requirements of licensing and the state’s certification. The teachers also have to demonstrate expertise in their fields or in their areas of specialization. Teachers have to have a minimum of a bachelor’s degree. The teachers who are new in profession have to demonstrate knowledge in their teaching subject and also the necessary skills that accompany. (Heller, 2000)

Such skills include writing, mathematics, arts and language. These are areas that are quite basic in the entire curriculum of elementary school.  The middle and high school teachers have to demonstrate a high competency level in every teaching subject that they take. This demonstration has to be done by going through rigorous test in academic subject.  The high school teachers have to have done coursework that is comparable to an undergraduate major. (Howell, 2002)

Testing the students

The No Child Left Behind Act states that the progress of each and every student has to be measured. This has to be carried out annually especially for the reading and the math grade. Testing for grades 10-11, 6-9 and 3-5 have to be carried out by the end of the year 2007-2008. The Act allows that the assessment can actually take any form as long as this system is used for all students within a state. Research shows that many states have chosen an inexpensive system of carrying out the tests that are standardized. The No Child Left Behind Act has really discouraged the issue where each state adopts the ranking of each of the student’s performance in relation to each other. The No Child Left Behind Act state that the assessments have to include tests that are criterion referenced. This actually focuses on whether the student has the required content and skill according to the standards at the state level. (Howell, 2002)

There are the referenced tests that are norm based that are used in the comparison of performance of each student in relation to the others. There are different groups of students that are exempted from this test. This includes the students that English is not their first language and so they are still learning it.  This is applicable when the students are in their first year in American school. After the first year, the students can then participate in the assessment tests.  The assessment can be carried out either in their native language or in English. The English test for such students is carried out after five years when they are conversant with it. (Parkerson, 2001)

The progress of each and every student has to be monitored and the overall report has to be made public. all the students in various population groups have to meet the proficiency standards in line with academics. The disadvantaged, special education students and the ethnic/racial groups are also exempted from these tests. Students have to be tested annually according to the examinations that are set at the state level.


No Child Left Behind and Music education

The No Child Left Behind act encourages standardized testing at the state level. This highly encourages teachers to teach a subset that is quite narrow of the skills. This makes the teachers not to go into the deeper details of the various subjects.  This makes most teachers not to invest in the practical in the pragmatic applications of the subjects taught. The very fact that each state produces its own standardized test, many of them decide just to make the tests very easy so that they can have the highest scores compared to other students. Such standardized test are also very subject to bias  because they are marked at the state level and in most cases the teachers marking  the answer sheets have a very good knowledge of the students.

A study conducted by the American Heart Association show that the No Child Left Behind Act does not favor or support other subjects like music in schools. Research shows that this has greatly influenced the increase in the levels of obesity amongst children. Surveys carried out in United States reveal  that 71 percent of  the elementary schools had cut the instructional time for music subject to make room for math and English subjects. This is actually the major focus of the entire law. These surveys show that since the implementation of The No Child Left     Behind Act, a large percentage of the instructional time for the arts subject has been decreased. This has played a big role in the deterioration of music subject in K-12 schools. (Parkerson, 2001)

Since the implementation of the No Child Left Behind Act, access to arts and music education in K-12 schools has been difficult. There is a big focus on the disparities in the accessing of music education amongst various groups of students. They include affluent peers, non-minority and the low income students in K-12 schools.  Research shows that when students participate in arts and music education, they tend to have positive behavior and great achievement in their examination results.

Since the initiation of the No Child Left Behind Act, multiple changes have occurred in relation to music and arts education in K-12 schools. As earlier on highlighted, the start of NCLB has led to the reduction of the time that is allocated to the teaching of the music subject. (Heller, 2000)

This means that it has been quite difficult for teachers to accomplish the entire syllabus in time. This subject always needs a lot of time so that the teacher can handle both the practical lessons and the theory lessons. Due to the reduction in the instructional time allocated to the music subject, teachers are not in a position to deal with deeper things in this subject. Some of these things are examinable and this has resulted in the decline in the student’s scores in music subject. (Heller, 2000)

 This has also influenced the students very negatively as they tend to think that the music subject is of lesser value than math and English. The students therefore do not take much of their time studying this subject. It was also noted that some students were not taking the subject seriously especially at the time when the teacher is teaching. All these have plaid a big part in the deterioration of music education in K-12 schools.

There have been multiple changes in the access to arts and the music education since the passage of the No Child Left Behind Act.  The access of music education has been quite difficult since the initiation of this Act. Problems have also come up concerning the access to arts and music subjects especially for the minority students in K-12 schools as compared to the non minority students. It has also been difficult for the low income students, that is, those who come from poor families to access music education compared to the non low income students. This is because offering of these subjects has become very expensive since the start of the No Child Left Behind Act.

Actually, various disparities exist in the accessing of arts and music education since the passing of the No Child Left Behind Act.  These disparities exist between the schools that have high percentages of minority and the students from low income families as compared to the schools that have low percentages of these groups.  The implementation of this federal law has resulted in various barriers that affect schools negatively in relation to offering of subjects such as music and arts. Such regulations and guidance have prevented many K-12 schools from engaging students in such rich curriculum that includes arts and music. All these factors have led to the deterioration of music education in K-12 schools. (Fred, and Allan, 2006)

Conclusion

No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 was passed in the year 2001 by the House of Representatives that are the United States. According to the No Child Behind Act, it is a requirement that all the teachers in primary and secondary schools be highly qualified.

They must have a minimum of a bachelor’s degree in relation to their teaching subject.

The No Child Left Behind Act states that the progress of each and every student has to be measured. This has to be carried out annually in every school in the states. The No Child Behind Act has received various criticisms since it was passed. There has been reduction in the instructional time awarded for the arts and music subjects.  This means that it has been quite difficult for teachers to accomplish the entire syllabus in time. This subject always needs a lot of time so that the teacher can handle both the practical lessons and the theory lessons.   This has played a big role in the deterioration of the music subject in K-12 schools.

 

 

 

 

Reference:

Fred, C and Allan, C. (2006): Educational Administration Concepts and Practices; 4th Ed; New York; Macmillan Press

Heller, F. (2000): Education in K-12 schools; An overall overview; San Francisco, CA; West Edition

Howell, W. (2002): No Child Left Behind Act; Results from Three Randomized Field Trials; Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, 21(2), 191–217

Parkerson, D. (2001): Transitions in American Education: A Social History of Teaching; Routledge; 242 pp.14

 

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