No Child Left Behind Revisions
No Child Left Behind
The No Child Left behind Act of 2001 was signed into law by the former President Bush. The signing of the act was to ensure that disadvantaged student’s education was improved. Who are the disadvantaged students that the act focused on in 2001? The disadvantaged students were categorized as those students who struggled in subjects such as literacy, reading and writing. NCLB was an act that required that states perform annual testing, check academic progress, provide report cards (data driven) and ensure teacher qualifications were set in place(highly qualified). In order to focus on improving reading for the disadvantaged students, a program called Reading First was established and funding changes were made to help districts have greater flexibility in how federal allotments were spent.
Here schools stand all over the world in 2015, with the aftermath of NCLB and still seeking ways to help all students. The disadvantage students identified in 2001 has changed greatly to most students needing some modifications to assist on a state test, but they are not qualified due to grades and other factors. As we reflect to the 2001 era of disadvantage students, we must look at the drop-out rate in Texas among the middle and high school students.
According to Texas Education Agency (2002-2003), these are the middle school and high school rates:
Annual Dropout Rates, by Grade Span,
Texas Public Schools, 2012-13
In seeking ways to prevent drop-out among middle and high school students, we must evaluate the data from the beginning of the NCLB until now. When looking at the data, we see that the drop- out rate has increased enough to rethink NCLB. As educators, parents and community leaders, we all know that students drop out of school for various reasons, but the core reason is most of these students dislike school or cannot pass a state mandated test. Right at this present moment, researchers are looking into the data and find that the majority of drop-outs originate from middle and high school students. In looking through the eyes of politicians, we must seek ways to prevent drop-outs because now a small percentage of elementary students are not attending school because they don’t want to or they are afraid of all the demands of learning.
No Child Left behind continues to seek the academic progress of all students. In seeking the academic progress of all students, schools are held accountable and states can easily monitor learning. For some schools, academic progress is diminished by factors beyond and within a schools’ control. Academic progress under the NCLB must be re-evaluated in a new way. When one reviews academic progress, the implications should be based on an individual student’s progress and reviewed holistically according to the percentage of increase among each student. Data suggest that some groups (sub-pop) struggle more than others and with a new look at how academic progress is given, this will help develop more appropriate and improved Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills. The reason so many sub-populations struggle is not due to the lack of teaching or inability to learn, but is due to the TEKS missing piece of remediation and spiral learning. Under the new revision of the TEKS, there must be a component within each section that identifies the level of learning.
An example of a TEK is Elementary Science-
Earth and space. The student knows that the natural world includes earth materials. The student is expected to: observe, describe, compare, and sort rocks by size, shape, color, and texture;-Modified,
Beginner-Observe, describe, compare
Intermediate-Write after the observation and describe it to a peer
Advanced-Experiment with the rocks and form a hypothesis.
Another component of No Child Left Behind is the report card. The report card illustrates information from four performance indexes: Student achievement, Student Progress, Closing Performance Gaps and Post Secondary Readiness. Also displayed on the report card is the Accountability rating Distinction Designations, School and staff information and financial information. A revision of the new No Child Left Behind provision for the report card is what provisions and measures are being taken to address areas on the report card. In having the measures established on the report card, officials will know how to revise TEKS, testing provisions and set realistic expectations for state testing.
Teaching is an essential piece of accountability that is reflected in the success of a student. Under the new No Child Left behind Act, a teacher must be highly qualified to teach students. There are measures such as emergency certifications that will uphold a teacher until testing is achieved. The essential element of accountability that is missing is the hands on skill set. In lieu of tests to ensure being highly qualified, the skill set of being able to be in a classroom for an extended period of time (4 or 5 months) is essential. Highly qualified does not necessarily mean certified. Highly qualified is the ability to handle a group of students. The new revision of NCLB should seek Highly Certified teachers and those are teachers who are certified and able to perform a skill set within the classroom.
In conclusion, the No Child Left Behind Act needs to be revised because still we have children being left behind. The old definition of disadvantaged (2001) is now obsolete and needs to be revised. The drop-out rate is constantly increasing and with that increase comes the need to review expectations of learning and how the teaching is delivered. Academic progress within schools needs to be revised and based on the significant or small increase for individual students, rather than a group. In seeking to look at small gains it will optimize the need to revisit TEKS, remediate and give appropriate assessments. Finally, the school report card is essential in that the community can go to the school report card and review different trends within the school. An element that needs to be added on the report card is what is being addressed for areas where sub populations and drop-outs are struggling at significantly high levels.