No Child Left Behind Act and American Education

Abstract

The research study focuses on the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 and the paper tries to make a probe into the implications and changes that the new legislation has brought about in the American education scenario. The paper evaluates and verifies the validity and usability of NCLB in American society, especially in education. Special emphasis is provided to the educational needs of the disabled students, students from low income class families, and the ethnic and minority students of the nation as the NCLB has failed to accommodate successfully these sects of American student population.

A qualitative approach is employed for the study as it best suits the topic under consideration. The paper seeks to conclude the literature review and the analysis of the current reliable data and it seeks to offer relevant recommendations for the issue. The manipulation of data verifies and proves the validity of NCLB as an effective plan which can make a change in American society; however there needs to be better provisions to see to the needs of the disabled and low income class and ethnic minorities of the nation. The research work concludes by pointing out that the change and development envisaged by NCLB is not an immediate one but it will have greater implications for the future generations of the nation.

Table of Contents

S. No Content Page No.
I
II
III
IV
V
VII
VIII
Introduction
Literature Review
Methodology
Analysis of the Data and Discussion
Conclusions and Recommendations
Bibliography
Appendices

Introduction

The No Child Left Behind Act has reshaped the American educational scenario and it has brought about revolutionary changes as well as controversies in the nation. The basic assumption behind the act is to offer equal access and freedom of education to all American citizens. Problems of racism, multiculturalism and ethnicity add to the significance of the act in the American educational context.

The American constitution offers equality of opportunity to all its citizens irrespective of their color, religion or cultures and this democratic way of life is emphasized in the formation of the No Child Left behind Act. The diversity of the American population and its multicultural tradition needs to be taken into account whenever one evaluates the educational scenario of the United States. The immigrated population of the United States constitutes a majority of the student population of the nation and the Act seeks to provide equal opportunities to these sects of migrated students in the United Nations.

The No Child Left Behind Act of 2001, introduced by the Bush administration, seeks to improve the academic achievement of the disadvantaged and the major objective of the act is “to ensure that all children have a fair, equal, and significant opportunity to obtain a high-quality education and reach, at a minimum, proficiency on challenging

State academic achievement standards and state academic assessments.” (Public Law 107-110: 107th Congress). The No Child Left behind (NCLB) Act of 2001 is the revised form of elementary and secondary education act. It is a potent blend of new requirements, and poses challenges for states. Moreover, NCLB is capable of designing an innovative way for student testing.

NCLB aims to raise the percentage of student proficiency in reading and math, to guarantee that every teacher is qualified in his/her subject area and to minimize the gap between testing scores of advantaged and disadvantaged students. The act resulted in an increase in funding in several areas of education in US. The deadline set by policy makers of NCLB and effective funding system forces states to monitor the achievement of students. Combination of NCLB and the existing state education agendas will be able to make a change in education scenario of US.

There have been debates regarding the success rate of the new legislation and it has been identified that the Act has brought revolutionary changes to the nation’s educational development. It has been identified that the NCBL has emphasized on greater levels of accountability, facilitated easy funding to the states, stood for the cause of the disadvantaged in the society, and stressed on the need for high quality teachers and held that education should be carried out based on proven research outcomes. However, how far the NCLB Act has been successful in meeting the diverse educational needs of the student population is debatable.

NCBL’s strict adherence to the accountability from the part of the teachers and the school authorities have caused problems to many schools where disabled and low income class students study. Very often reputed schools fell short of Adequate Yearly Progress as these sects of students either failed to attend or go through the test. Similarly, when it comes to the case of English language learning NCBL is yet to implement more effective policies and strategies. The paper here tries to analyze the advantages and disadvantages of the new Act in the specific American context.

Literature review

It is necessary to have a thorough knowledge regarding the literature reviews on the No Child Left Behind Act. One can come across wealth of literature on the new legislation as the NCLB has been much discussed and volumes have been written on it. The No Child Left behind Act has posed great challenges to the educators and it has greater implications as far as special education services of the nation are concerned.

As per the NCLB guidelines, every school is expected to acquire annual yearly progress and schools that perform well are likely to receive more of funds whereas it puts greater pressure on educators who deal with backward students. As pointed out by Richard L. Simpson, Paul G. LaCava, and Patricia Sampson Graner, the NCLB guidelines offers greater challenges to special educators. According to the authors, “The proficiency requirements of NCLB are expected to be a particularly difficult hurdle for the approximately 6.6 million students who are eligible to receive special education services and the educators who are responsible for their learning. (Simpson, Lacava and Sampson Graner).

The fact that most of the disabled students were previously been excluded from state evaluation and testing programs and the NCLB’s strong emphasis on accountability have added to the difficulty of educators who engage children with disabilities. On the other hand, it is concluded that the provision for accountability and the AYP (Adequate Yearly Progress) standards have brought about a rejuvenated collaborative effort from the part of the students, educators, parents and the school authorities to works towards improvement in the performance of the students. The authors make clear how the two fold strategies of assuring accountability-through Adequate Yearly Progress and through highly qualified teachers-have contributed to higher proficiency in the teaching –learning process.

The federal funding could very well be used by the decision-making authorities to find solutions for the local needs and issues. Richard L. Simpson, Paul G. LaCava, and Patricia Sampson Graner purport that the highly qualified teacher (HQT) and scientifically based research (SBR) are the two most controversial and important components of NCLB Act. The scientifically based research acts as the strong theoretical background for the NCLB guidelines whereas highly qualified teachers added to the quality of teaching-learning process.

The journal article also points out how the NCLB’s strict guidelines have resulted in the shortage of highly qualified teachers in many disciplines, especially in the special education field. To quote the authors’ own words, “Because of severe teacher shortages, many classrooms, including those for students with disabilities, are staffed by uncertified personnel or those personnel who have not vet demonstrated competencies in areas of special education.” (Simpson, Lacava and Sampson Graner).

The statistical data from the USDOE, Office of Policy Planning and Innovation (2004) shows that during the 2002-03 academic year, 6% of the teachers nationally were not certified whereas the number increased to 8% for special education teachers and for teachers who teach in high-poverty areas (Office of Policy Planning and Innovation. Meeting the Highly Qualified Teachers Challenge: The Secretary’s Second Annual Report on Teacher Quality, p. 7).

Scott Young (2003) observes that the NCLB guidelines have made it easier for the States to spend the Federal funding to bring about desirable educational reforms envisaged by the NCLB; however, he points out in the case of many states like New Hampshire and Montgomery had to stop many of the educational endeavors undertaken by the state governments. Scott Young notices that there is a considerable difference in the state accountability systems and the NCLB guidelines, which has made many states to fall short of the NCLB accountability systems.

The statistics of public schools that failed to meet the NCLB’s guidelines are not promising enough: “Nearly 90 percent of Florida’s public schools missed the federal criteria, including 78 percent of the schools ranked “A” under the state accountability system. In addition, 80 percent of the schools in Idaho; 77 percent of the schools in South Carolina; and 66 percent of the schools in Alabama and New Jersey did not make sufficient progress.” (Young).

Similarly, many of the schools found it extremely difficult to meet the NCLB’s requirements for the students with disabilities and English language learners. The author cites several examples where schools (Dobie Junior High School in Texas and New Jersey’s Ridgewood High School, for instance) have been labeled as “in need of improvement” under the NCLB guidelines as some of the disabled and students from the low income families did not take the prescribed text.

The NCLB fails to address these sorts of issues where the entire school’s performance is adversely affected by a minority of students who fail either to attend or to pass the standardized test. No doubt, the NCLB has succeeded in creating a centralized national system of education; however it has caused a lot of public anxiety as a student’s performance can hinder the progress of the whole students. The transfer of the failed students to other schools in the same district have also been a matter of concern as schools could not accommodate all the students who came forward with the transfer requests.

Studies have proved that the English language learners in the nation have failed to meet the performance criteria and requirements fixed by the NCLB. Jamal Abedi and Ron Dietel (2004) have made some remarkable studies on the implications of NCLB on the English-language learners and in their journal article entitled “Challenges in the No Child Left Behind Act for English-Language Learners”, the authors seeks to offer some valuable recommendations for the issue. It has been identified by the state tests that “ELL students’ academic performance is far below that of other students, oftentimes 20 to 30 percentage points lower, and usually shows little improvement across many years.” (Abedi and Dietel, p. 782).

Research has proved that one of the underlying reasons for the under performance of English language learners is the removal of high achieving students from the ELL subgroup. Such high achieving students are categorized as Fluent English Proficient (FEP) and are removed from their original subgroups. This leads to imbalances in the subgroups and the low achievers fail to get the most out of these high language performers.

The article also identifies factors like the level of parents’ education and socioeconomic status as two major hindrances that the English language learners face outside their school atmosphere. The diversity of the ELL subgroup ia yet another significant factor that adversely affect the performance of the English language learners. Transaction becomes complex and complicated when the students who belong to the ELL subgroup are from different cultural and linguistic background. For instance, an ELL student with Chinese background is most likely to approach English language quite different from the way a Japanese student does. The authors remark that there should be changes in the language of the test to make it free of unnecessary linguistic complexity.

Mark W. Conley and Kathleen A. Hinchman (2004) postulate that even though the No Child Left Behind Act offers every American a better chance top learn, it is not so promising for the adolescent students in the nation.

The authors point out that most of the provisions in the No Child Left Behind Act target the learning needs of students up to the third grade. According to them, the adolescent literacy funding of the Act “are earmarked for developing accountability systems, for supporting reform for schools that fail to make adequate yearly progress, and, to a more limited extent, for providing interventions for those who struggle beyond grade 3”, whereas three specific areas of adolescent education-“contexts for teaching and learning in content areas, teacher preparation and ongoing education, and adolescents’ interests and needs”-are not mentioned in No Child Left Behind Act. (Conley and Hinchman).

Studies have shown that the NCLB does not take into account the changed and varied literacy contexts that the adolescents have to cope up with (Snow, Burns and Griffin). These varied literacy contexts of the adolescents have also necessitated novel and changed strategies for the teaching-learning process. Mark W. Conley and Kathleen A. Hinchman think that the NCLB fails to address the changed needs of teaching-learning strategies that are to be employed in various subject-matter domains. Researches on adolescent literacy have proved that skilled content area teachers who can understand students’ individual motivations and needs and plan multiple strategies are best suited for adolescent education (Alvermann). (McCray Vaughn and Neal, p. 17-30).

However, the NCLB, while emphasizing on alphabetic knowledge, phonemic awareness, and fluency undermines the role of adept content teachers in adolescent literacy. Mark W. Conley and Kathleen A. Hinchman also hold the view that the NCLB has not rightly understood the role of parents in adolescent literacy even though it acknowledges parents’ role in the early literacy education. However, for the students of various age groups, NCLB is aiming to provide better chances to learn, and to fulfill their dreams. Further research works, policy making, and the implementation of these policies will transform the adolescents and their literacy learning to a more effective level.

Camille M. Mayers (2006) believes that the No Child Left Behind Act is the outward manifestation of how American democracy functions. Camille M. Mayers, in this respect, observes that the No Child Left behind Act was a landmark in the history of the American educational system as it contributed to the academic achievement of the economically disadvantaged student population of the nation as it ensured that “every child has access to a fair and significant opportunity to attain a high quality education and to reach minimum proficiency on state academic standards and assessment.” (Mayers).

Steven P. Chamberlain (2004) perceives that the two major goals of the No Child Left Behind Act are “to raise standards across U.S. schools and to decrease the achievement gap between those students who traditionally perform well in school and those who traditionally have been considered underachieving.” (Chamberlain) and according to him this under achieving group in the American society are consisted of culturally and linguistic backward students, poor students from low income families and students with disabilities. (Meier and Harrison).

Strongly attack the No Child Left Behind Act as they hold the view that the new Act would adversely affect the schooling system in the nation. The book is a seminal work on the NCLB as it points out how the minority kids and their schools suffer badly from the strict guidelines and the subsequent unfair treatment that they have to undergo. The authors think that the new legislation would destroy public school system and would result in the privatization of education.

H. Svi Shapiro points out that the educational policies in this new millennium must be aimed at and focused on a new mode of education which is capable to compete with the changing circumstances and challenges: “issues and problems, such as poverty and growing social injustice; AIDS; racism, sexism, and homophobic forms of exclusion; depersonalization of social and political life; the moral and spiritual consequences of the commercialization of culture; an unaccountable global economy; and the ecological deterioration of the planet.” (Shapiro).

Moreover, the educational policies should be capable of making a change in future developments of the existing society and must resist the challenges of social injustices and social problems. When an educational policy is formulated and implemented, it must meet the requirements of existing society such as poverty social injustices and social issues. Moreover, there must be a cultural improvement and upliftment in lives of the lowest section in a society. So, one can see that the NCLB is implemented to revise elementary and secondary education in US.

Commenting on the assessment and aim of NCLB, Susan Sclafani, is in all praise for the new legislation. For her, NCLB offers the best opportunity for American students to be responsible citizens. She remarks: “We know that if we want our young people to have the opportunity to earn a decent living, raise a family, and become active members of society, we must provide them with a good education. That is the underlying motivation for the president’s No Child Left Behind legislation.” (Sclafani, p. 43+).

Earlier, most of the people who immigrated to America were ready to undertake unskilled jobs and there were high opportunities for unskilled jobs. But now, there is little scope for unskilled jobs. But it can be argued that the implementation of NCLB at the end of an academic year will not be able to help the students. But NCLB is not planned for the improvement for a single academic year, but fore coming decades.

The NCLB policy was implemented in 2001, aiming to have a change in education field, especially at the school level. But when the rate of achievement according to the aims is measured, one can see that the rate of achievement in initial stage is rather low. The policy must have focused its attention on ignored groups of students in schools. Another problem is that there was no change among the educators who were under prejudices and biases about the achievement level of students who were considered as backward in curricular and extracurricular activities. Steven P. Chamberlain points out that the problems of the students who are from varied cultures are not resolved yet.

This was because they study English as their second language. So their ability and achievement will be different to that of native speakers of English. As he puts it: “In most states, students from low-incidence language groups, such as Arabic or Chinese, are receiving English as a second language instruction, but the only alternative for measuring their progress is to have the same achievement test taken by native English speakers.” (Chamberlain).

So there must be a change in NCLB to accommodate these children also. Another reason for the low achievement rate is that of the tool used for measurement of student progress. Testing, which is an outdated evaluation tool, with limited validity and reliability was used to measure the student progress. Moreover, the teachers are required to provide effective instruction without curricula, which is considered as so effective for diverse learner groups.

Another problem that the states were facing while measuring student progress was the lack of technical capacity. But the policy was able to impose a positive impact on student achievement and school improvement. For example, the interim report by the independent review panel (IRP) found out that there was an improvement from the schools which missed AYP (Adequate Yearly Progress) in the year 2003-2004.

Terry Trippany points out that a study conducted by Center On Education Policy, over two years after 2002 to study the effects of NCLB was able prove that the achievement gap between white students and minorities in America is narrowed: “achievement gaps between white students and minorities narrowed, with significant reduction for the African American community and low income groups.” (Trippany).

This noticeable change could be considered as one of the positive impacts of the law on the American society. In math and reading, students were able to achieve moderate or large gains on the tests which were conducted by states. Moreover, achievement in elementary and middle schools is higher than high school level and an increased achievement can be seen in almost all states. To raise the achievement of students, some other policies and programs were implemented by states and school districts. These efforts were helpful to monitor the improvement and to confront the challenges that appeared in the field of education.

Another problem related to NCLB was that there was no other student group which is to be compared with public school students. This was because all public schools were affected by NCLB. When the impact of NCLB in education is considered it is evident that the expected result of this educational policy is not yet attained. To accommodate so other groups like mentally retarded, physically challenged and the children from low income families and socially marginalized, there must be some research and addition to the NCLB policy.

Methodology

A qualitative approach is employed for the research as it best suits the topic under study. The paper tries to conclude the large number of literature reviewed and a variety of data is interpreted by the researcher. The data includes graphs, tables, pie diagrams, and charts that specifically throw light on to the statistical details and the implications of the NCLB on the American educational scenario. Special care is taken by the researcher to select reliable and valid data from reliable and dependant sources and the limitations of the given data are specified in the appendix part where they are provided.

The data are collected from the U.S. Department of Education Budget Service and NAEP, National Education Association, and the National Longitudinal Study of NCLB, U.S. Department of Education, all of which offer reliable official data on NCLB and its implication on the American elementary and high school education.

The data analyzed deal with various factors of NCLB such as the allocation of funding and its effect on elementary education, funding gap between fund allocation and actual funding from 2002 to 2009, details of the schools and districts that fail to make adequate yearly progress, chart showing the reason behind the under achievement of poor and minority students, details of the average scale scores and achievement level in reading and mathematics by race and ethnicity, and NCLB’s impact on students with disabilities and English Language learners on AYP.

Analysis of the Data and Discussion

As the literature review makes it clear, there have been several public schools that failed to cope up with the NCLB’s guidelines and accountability requirements. Students with disabilities, students from low income class families and the students who belonged to the racial or ethnic minorities contributed mostly for the lack of attainment of Adequate Yearly Progress in these schools.

Appendix 1 makes clear the reasons why many of the schools failed to acquire AYP; the 2004–05 school year testing shows only 13% of that schools with disabled students could reach AYP, whereas it was 3% for the schools that comprised of the low income students and the ethnic or racial minority groups of students respectively. The data also shows that there is not any constant trend regarding the accomplishment of AYP; it can vary from schools to schools and year to year.

When a new policy is implemented to the society, especially in educational field, there will be a lot of controversies on training, interfering of politics, its aim, funding, testing etc. Some criticize that the money spent for this program is so high but the aimed results are not achieved yet. From 1990s, there is an increase in the amount of money which is spent for improvement in education. (See appendix-2) In 2004, $41 billion was spent for education.

When the spending of state and local governments are considered, the figure will rise to half million dollars. This will be the double of amount spent for education in 1990s. But the increased amount of spending does not reflect the improvement in educational matters. For example there is no improvement in the score of students from the year 1990 to 2003. From the appendix, it is clear that the score rate of students remain stagnant around 200, whereas the funding for the same is at an increasing rate from 1990 to 2003. So, it is evident that the result of NCLB does not match with the amount spent for it.

Funding and moral obligation of policy makers are the main factors which determine the success of any educational policy which is to be implemented to an extreme conservative society. The promised funding for NCLB was high but actual funding was low. By verifying appendix-3, it is evident that there is a wide funding gap between funding promised in the laws and the fund received between 2002 and 2008-09. (See Appendix-3)

For example the promised funding of the year 2002 was $26.4 billion but the actual funding for the year was only $22.2 billion and there was a funding gap of $4.2 billion. In the year2003, promised funding was$29.2 billion, actual funding was$23.8 billion, and funding gap was$5.4 billion. In the year 2004, promised funding was $32.0 billion, actual funding was$ 24.5 billion and funding gap was$ 7.6 billion. In the year 2005, promised funding was$ 34.3 billion, actual funding was$ 24.5 billion, and funding gap was $9.8 billion. In the year2006, promised funding was $36.9 billion, actual funding was$23.5 billion, and funding gap was $13.4 billion.

In the year2007, promised funding was$39.4 billion, actual funding was $23.7 billion, and funding gap was $15.8 billion. In the year2008, promised funding was$ 39.4 billion, actual funding was$24.6 billion, and funding gap was$14.8 billion. In the year2009, promised funding included in budget is$39.4 billion, actual funding is $24.7billion, and funding gap will be$85.7 billion. Analyzing the data, it is evident that there is no similarity or connection between promised funding and actual funding. When there is no connection between these two, the promise will be high and actual funding will be constant and the funding gap will be ever widening.

For example, the promised funding of the year 2008 is39.4, actual funding is 24.6, and funding gap is 14.8 billion. So, it is evident that the gap between promised funding and actual funding is so wide and it affected the rate of achievement of students and eventually, the NCLB.

In America, there are so many schools that are unable to improve in achievement level of students. Earlier, disabled students ed were not tested under strict conditions. But, after implementing NCLB, they also had to undergo these strict testing procedures. The data provided by national education association points out that, the rate of underachievement in the Schools/districts hinder AYP (2003-04, 04-05) and ultimately, the NCLB. (See Appendix -4)

In the academic year 2003-04, 30.5% schools in American states and districts were considered as underachieved. Again in the academic year 2004-05, 23.5% schools in American states and districts were considered as underachieved. This shows that the policy of NCLB is effective and can reduce the gap between advantaged and disadvantaged students. The reliability of the data is under consideration because there is possibility for change among the schools on account of AYP. For example, AYP progress in 49 states and the District of Columbia in America are changeable according to circumstances. The schools /districts which failed to attain adequate AYP in 2003-04, may not be in the AYP list of 2004-05. This proves that there is high chance for change in AYP rating.

Another field where underachievement hinders the proper functioning of NCLB as an effective educational policy is among poor and minority students. The reason behind this underachievement is lack of experienced teachers. The success of any educational policy which can transform the future of a nation is in the hands of effective teachers. The data available at National Center for Educational Statistics (2000) provides strong evidence of the involvement of inexperienced teachers with three or fewer years experienced teachers behind underachievement of poor and minority students (See Appendix -5).

Research shows that the group of students in need of effective teachers has the access to the least qualified and least effective teachers. When these groups of students are confronted with the problem of experienced teachers, there is high chance for further delay in achievement level.

The students from sections like ethnic races and minorities in America are unable to cope up with the strict testing procedures of NCLB and they are evaluated as underachieved. US Department of Education released the average scale scores and achievement level results in reading by race/ethnicity (1990-2005) points out that the reading level and capability of minority students is so far from the white students in America. (See Appendix-6)

One of the reasons for this problem is lack of exposure and other reasons are closely related to their hesitation to come forward to the mainstream of education. Here, the Asian/Pacific Islander students can compete with the white students. This shows that, if the students of ethnic races and minorities are provided with proper guidance and other facilities, there is high chance for achievement.

Most of the students face the problem of underachievement in mathematics and this affect their scores. This problem is so severe among the children from ethnic groups and minorities. American government confronts this problem with proper seriousness. One of the main aims of NCLB is to reduce the wide gap between ordinary children and the children from ethnic groups and minorities. Studies by US Department of education (1990-2005) prove the fact that the white students are far ahead from Asian/Pacific Islander, Hispanic, Black and American Indian/ Alaskan native (See Appendix-7).

This causes the slow growth of NCLB plan and ultimately the overall development of education sector. But the students from the minority section like Asian/Pacific Islander can compete with white students in some areas. When the overall performance of these students is considered, especially in mathematics, they face the problem of underachievement. When a group of students are showing the tendency to go below the standard, the whole educational system is under doubt. The remedial measures taken by the government can reduce the wide gap between the students. The rate of progress is low but gradual. So there is high chance for the development and achievement of these students in fore coming years.

The students with disabilities are considered as a separate section in schools which is to be evaluated based on different criteria of testing. NCLB has separate criteria for the instruction and evaluation of these students. Innovative measures are adapted by NCLB to help these students to compete with the students who are advantaged. Because of these students, there is high chance for schools not to attain adequate yearly progress.

There are two choices, one is to help these students to attain the achievement level prescribed by NCLB, and other is to transfer these students to other schools. Wherever these students reach, the problem of underachievement will not be resolved then. Commission on No Child Left Behind (2006) provides the data regarding the issue of students with disabilities and the impact of NCLB (See Appendix-8)

For example, in the state of California (2004-05), 9% schools were reporting AYP for subgroup, 4% schools missed AYP in subgroup, and 1% of total schools missed the AYP because of the presence of these disabled students. Here, it is only a marginal rate but in the state of Georgia, the schools reporting AYP for subgroup was 53%, schools missed AYP in subgroup was 10%, and 38% of total schools missed the AYP. Other states in America also face the same problem.

The learners of English language confronted the same problem. The state of California reported 44% schools which were reporting AYP for subgroup, 22% schools missed AYP in subgroup, and 12% of total schools missed the AYP only because of subgroup. But in the states of Michigan and Pennsylvania, the rate of schools that missed AYP in subgroup was less than 1%. This shows that, the problem faced by English language learners can be resolved by proper guidance and strict monitoring.

Moreover, there were slid reasons for missing AYP (See appendix-1) but another section of students, especially special education students are being marginalized from the mainstream. So, great flexibility must be offered for these students. The aim to attain progress in the educational field is closely related to the policies of the government. To make it more clear, policies of the government must be closely verified. The motive behind the aim of improvement in educational results of all students is closely related to the aim of the United States to remain competitive at the global marketplace.

To achieve the goals of NCLB, low performing schools must be helped by offering supplementary educational services. The reality is that most of the underachieving students can learn but there must be some extra learning to boost their ability to learn. For example, there must be a positive attitude from the policy makers and teachers to reduce the gap between disadvantaged and non disadvantaged students to ensure that all have equal opportunity to succeed.

Moreover, the policy of government to provide equal opportunity for all to have education is with democratic outlook. As the democracy in United States is ready to provide equal opportunity to all, NCLB is well worth to attain the defined goals of education. Nowadays, the world is becoming more and more competitive and the competitiveness of an individual is the decisive factor of success. So, the government policy to transform the educational scenario with the help of NCLB can achieve progress.

United States, with a democratic outlook can be defined as a society of varied culture, ethnic races, multilingual communities, and different languages. When an education policy is implementing in the society, government must consider all these differences. Moreover, American economy is based on trade and commerce. So, the real aim of educational policies must suit the needs of society. When one tries to recognize the changes in American educational field after 2001, it is evident that there is a change, low but gradual. It is not fair to expect an immediate change after the implementation of NCLB but fore coming decades may prove the validity of this policy.

Conclusions and Recommendations

The literature reviews and the analysis of the data convinces one of the fact that the NCLB act has brought about gradual changes to the American school system and that it is capable of deciding the destiny of the nation if effectively implemented. The fact that the NCLB is rooted in educational programs and practices that are supported by scientific research adds to the proven credential of the new legislation. However, the study has also brought about some areas of concern where issues like special education, English language learning, learning of low income class and the marginalized sects of the society are to be given more priority and special provisions are to be implemented for their well-being.

The NCLB has undoubtedly increased the quality of general and elementary education in the nation and its emphasis on proficient and qualified teachers has led to both shortages of teachers as well as quality of teaching. On the other hand, the NCLB has posed great challenges to the special educators and has immensely pressurized them with higher expectations, demands and accountabilities. Another important finding that the study has thrown light on is the NCLB’s lack of due importance vested on adolescent education, which has elaborately been discussed in the literature review. This is another area of concern as the adolescent stage is a pivotal developmental stage in the lives of students and therefore special care and attention is to be ensured for the educational needs of the adolescent population of the nation.

However, one needs to admit the fact that the NCLB has a major impact on American public education. Before concluding, the relevance of main points that were discussed under the research topic must be once more pointed out. The main problem under discussion is the educational problems of disabled students, students from low income class families, ethnics and minority students in American society.

Moreover, the students from economically and socially backward families are facing the problem of marginalization from the main stream of education. The benefit of this educational policy must go to these depressed classes. The implications of NCLB on mathematics, reading and English language learners prove the fact that the real problem behind the backwardness of certain groups of students is identified and the remedial measures are taken. But it will take time to overcome and rectify these problems. Effectiveness of the teachers must be raised according to the needs of the students because the problem is related to the backward students.

Only the teacher can play most important role to make sure that the education policy is effective. The lack of qualified and experienced teachers hinders the effectiveness of NCLB. So government must take care of this issue. The validity of testing as a measurement tool to measure the effectiveness of NCLB is under criticism. The progress envisaged by the policy makers of NCLB is yet to be achieved and there is scope for further developments.

Moreover, the federal government must make sure that the fund allocated for the benefit of backward students reach them and it is capable of leading to a change in their lives. More attention must be provided to low performing schools. More authority must be provided to local school districts to undertake the challenges in the education field. The democratic out look of American society provides more room for further amendments, additions and developments to the NCLB. The strict provisions for testing under AYP must undergo certain neutralization process and provisions must be added to the policy of NCLB to accommodate the language minority students and disabled students. Only through further additions and amendments, NCLB can prove its effectiveness as an educational policy in future.

Recommendations for further research

  1. Research to accommodate the real needy class of students in NCLB. Further research to extend the facilities to other fields of education.
  2. Scope of job oriented education according to the economic, social and cultural needs of depressed classes.
  3. Introduction of more liberal ways of evaluation methods of AYP for the backward students.
  4. More attention to language learning and adolescent education are to be ensured.
  5. Critical evaluation of student achievement and further additions to the policy are to be undertaken based on this evaluation.

For NCLB to be highly successful, there should be increased parental involvement in the teaching learning process as well as in the decision making process. There should be a carefully planned curriculum to meet the additional requirements of the Act and this advanced form of curriculum is to be transacted by proficient teachers. Public general awareness of the NCLB act is yet another essential prerequisite for the success of the Act.

As the teachers are the carriers of the new legislation all the teachers must have thorough understanding concerning the NCLB guidelines and the educators and researchers need to constantly evaluate and follow up each of the provisions of the act. Thus one can expect that the NCLB Act would be successful in carrying out its primary goal-that of bridging the gap between the privileged and the underprivileged sects of the student population of the nation. To take over the challenges of modern world and to equip the backward students to the main stream, Policies like NCLB and evaluation technique like AYP is essential.

Thus, the study has shown that the NCLB has many positive sides with it and rectifying its drawbacks the law is capable of accomplishing its primary aim. It is great to have such a universal and centralized educational guideline for such a diverse nation as America. The great multicultural tradition of the nation can best be preserved and enhanced with the effective implementation of NCLB guidelines.

The study has also shown that there is a great amount of similarity between the professional literature reviewed and the analysis of the data undertaken. Thus it can be concluded that the NCLB is to stay in the nation for long and one can experience the good aspects of the Act sooner or gradually. The issues regarding special education, disabled and marginalized students under the NCLB requires further researches and studies, and it is high time that these issues are addressed at the earliest.

Appendices

Appendix 1

Reasons schools missed AYP.

Appendix 2

Money for nothing.

Appendix 3

Funding Gap: No Child Left Behind.

Appendix 4

Schools/districts not making adequate AYP.

Appendix 5

Reason behind underachievement of poor and minority students.

Appendix-6

Average scale scores and achievement-level results in reading, by race /ethnicity.

Appendix 7

Average scale scores and achievement-level results in mathematics, by race /ethnicity.

Appendix 8

Impact of students with disabilities and English language learners on AYP.

Works Cited

Abedi, Jamal., and Dietel, Ron. Challenges in the No Child Left Behind Act for English-Language Learners. Vol. 85(10). 2004.

Alvermann, D.E. Effective Literacy Instruction for Adolescents. Chicago: National Reading Conference. 2001.

Chamberlain, Steven P. Hilliard, Asa G. and Ortiz, Alba A. The Effects of the No Child Left Behind Act on Diverse Learners. Journal Title: Intervention in School & Clinic. Vol. 40.(2). 2004.

Conley, Mark W., and Hinchman, Kathleen A. No Child Left Behind: What It Means for U.S. Adolescents and What We Can Do about It The No Child Left Behind Act Promises All Students a Better Chance to Learn, but Does That Promise Include Adolescents?Journal of Adolescent & Adult Literacy. Vol. 48(1). 2004.

Data on School/Districts not Making Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) Prepared by the National Education Association. State Department of Education Websites. 2008. Web.

Funding Gap: No Child Left Behind: Funding Promised in the Law vs. Funding Actually Received, FY 2002-09. NEA: National Education Association. 2008. Web.

Mayers, Camille M. Public Law 107-110 No Child Left Behind Act of 2001: Support or Threat to Education as a Fundamental Right? Journal Title: Education. Vol. 126(3). 2006.

Meier, Deborah., and Harrison, George. Wood Many Children Left Behind: How the No Child Left Behind Act is Damaging Our Children and Our Schools. Beacon Press, 2004.

McCray, A.D., Vaughn, S., and Neal, L.I. Not all Students Learn to Read by Third Grade: Middle School Students Speak out About their Reading Disabilities. Journal of Special Education. 35, 2001. 17-30.

No Politician Left Behind: Lack of Money isn’t the Problem with Education. The Wall Street Journal. 2004. Web.

Office of Policy Planning and Innovation. Meeting the Highly Qualified Teachers Challenge: The Secretary’s Second Annual Report on Teacher Quality. U.S. Department of Education. Washington, DC. 2004.

Public Law 107-110: 107th Congress. 2002. Web.

Simpson, Richard L., Lacava, Paul G., and Sampson Graner Patricia. The No Child Left Behind Act: Challenges and Implications for Educators. Intervention in School & Clinic. Vol. 40(2). 2004.

Shapiro, H. Svi. Critical Social Issues in American Education: Democracy and Meaning in a Globalizing World. Ed. David E. Purpel. Lawrence Erlbaum Associates. Mahwah, NJ, 2004.

Sclafani, Susan. No Child Left Behind: Assessment Is a Key Component of the President’s Plan to Ensure That All Students Receive an Adequate Education. Issues in Science and Technology. National Academy of Sciences. 19(2). 2002.

Snow, C., Burns, S., and Griffin, P. Preventing Reading Difficulties in Young Children. Washington, DC, National Academy Press.1998.

Thompson Tommy G., and Barnes, Roy E. The Commission on No Child Left Behind. Beyond NCLB: Fulfilling the Promise to Our Nation’s Children. 2007. Web.

Trippany, Terry. Narrative Buster: Report Cites Improvement in Test Scores Since Enactment of NCLB. News Busters. 2008. Web.

Young, Scott. The Challenges of NCLB: Some Requirements of the No Child Left Behind Act Are Causing More Chaos Than Cures and Driving Teachers, Parents and Administrators Mad. Vol. 29(10). 2003.