"Is No Child Left Behind" Hurting Our Teachers and Parents
The Responsibility Shifts from Congress to the Parents
In 2002 Congress passed a law that both political parties agreed upon: the education future of our children. At this time children that were being left behind finally had a fighting chance. Students with learning disabilities were finally able to test out grades that they were failing in if they could pass the end of year test. Teachers were being recognized for a job well done and the schools were being granted money to buy supplies that our schools really needed to better serve the students.
According to the US Department of Education there are four common sense principals to ensure that all of children in the US receive a high quality education and close the achievement gap of students
- Hold school accountable for better results
- Give state and district flexibility in how they spend federal money
- Using scientific research to guide classroom practices
- Involve parents by giving information and choices about their children's education.
Teachers and parents are beginning to feel the pressure as the states are expecting the children to learn very specifics to pass the end of year tests. Teachers are no longer able to spend the time needed with their students to make sure they know the work. This responsibility has now been shifted to the parents. The teachers are beginning to send home to much homework and expect the parents to pick of the slack.
Why is this a minus? According to www.dosomething.org's website, 11 Facts About High School Dropouts Rates. 1.2 million teenagers drop out of high school in the US alone every year. Consider for a moment those young teenagers becoming parents and imagine them trying to help their children in the 2nd grade and up with their homework such as algebra. Now imagine the extra barriers placed in the household like no food to eat and child having to work for food. Imagine having english as a second language and don't forget young teenagers have babies.
Don't get me wrong, I am not saying anything negative about our teachers I think they are accomplishing a lot with what they are giving.
It still takes a village to raise one child.
Many people are starting to assist our teachers and parents by offering more incentives for children to want to learn more in the classroom and at home. Pizza Hut for example offers personal pan pizza for good readers and McDonalds offer food for good report cards. Prominent people in the community are offering grant money to students that excel in school. The incentives gives our students motivation and staying power especially for people with lower income. Incentives giving to students with parents that didn't finish school give those students a fighting chance because most children of high school dropouts drop out themselves. Incentives give opportunities to those students to push through adversity. Communities have after school programs set up for students to be able to reach and get the help they need. Their tutoring companies popping all over the nation with scholarships and discounts to assist our parents and teachers as well.
There are a lot of outside influences that stand in the way of our children's education but we as a community are refusing to let those influences dictate the future.
Food, Family and Fairness
Many schools have started offering free breakfast to children in the morning before school because they believe that children will concentrate better with food in the tummy. This helps families in return as well because it put less stress on the parents to have to come up a way to provide breakfast for their hungry kids. As a result children are doing better in school.
This program can backfire on some students with test anxiety. What if a student works hard all year round and bring home awards and honor roll just to stay in the same grade two years in row. This is accepted by the school and teachers by saying they were not ready to progress with their peers they are only book smart but not mentally advanced. What does this do the child? What do you say to that child...that no matter how hard you try only one thing matters and that is the end of year test. There are students that don't work as hard during the school year and pass the end of year test and get promoted to the next grade with little summer school or no summer school at all. What kind of message are you sending to that child?
I understand that this plan was set in place for the teachers who have the favorites in class. Some kids may not deserve the A they got on the report card. Some teacher will pass a child with a C or D if they sit quietly and try their hardest but this will not help our children. Our children need to understand that hard work plus good grades get you to the next grade. Some teachers don't take time to get to know the children and draw negative conclusions about children and it reflects in the way the teachers interacts with that student. Some students excel because they have a excellent up brining and or a rich parent.
I don't however understand how students get left behind because teachers don't have the time to teach anymore. They only teach the essentials and the parents are left dealing with the rest. Parents are starting to complain about the homework given to the kids and the level of difficulty of the homework. When you are dealing with a single mother that has to work all day and come home late at night to try and help their kids; someone will lose out. When you talking about a parent that barely squeaked by in school or dropped out of school and can't assist their children with homework because they don't know how to do it; the child will lose out on bonding with the parent and a chance at a better education. Its not the teacher's fault, they are just trying to teach the curriculum given to them by the state. It is not the parents fault either because they are sending their child to school so they could get a better education. Could we quite possibly ask the congress to tweak the "No Child Left Behind " law a little to benefit all involved? Would that be fair to ask when all they are doing is trying to offer the same education for high and low income families?