Causal Argument- Brianne Waters

No Child Left Behind and its Detrimental Effects

In 2002, the U.S department of education created the No Child Left Behind Act in order to improve not only education as a whole, but also the gap of educational equality between students of different races, ethnicities, and income levels. Many celebrated as they thought that finally, students who were being denied a quality education were finally going to be acknowledged. The No Child Left Behind Act has instead caused reverse effects for these particular students and even more negative effects to education as a whole across the nation.

Title I of NCLB mandated that schools report the test results in reading and math of the various student groups. Groups included ones for special education students and different races, genders, income levels, and ethnicities. Schools were then reprimanded for poor performance by each sub group and further punished for continued failure. Punishments included interventions, allowing parents to send their children to other schools, restructuring, and in the worst cases, school closure. These are very harsh punishments and have had detrimental effects.

Principals try their best to ensure that their school stays afloat through the regulations and sanctions of the NCLB Act. They know that in order to continue to receive funding, keep their schools open, and keep their jobs, their students need to meet the appropriate standards. To do this, they take drastic measures such as cheating. Cayuga Elementary, part of the Philadelphia School District, is the latest school to become under speculation of cheating principals. The article states that teachers were informed in their classrooms and through meetings days before the state tests to “do what they had to do in their rooms to get good scores.” The principal, Evelyn Cortez, was even quoted as saying over the loudspeaker, “Students, do not bubble anything in on your books. When your teacher gives you approval, then you may put it in your book.” The whole school is now under fire, teachers’ jobs are at stake, and parents are learning that their children may not be at the right education level. All of this could be avoided without the stress and pressure on principals and administrators by NCLB.

NCLB has caused schools to become more like “test prep centers”, said Monty Neill of the Phi Delta Kappan. This means that schools are focusing solely on what is being tested on standardized exams. Since the state tests really only focus on reading and math, schools are cutting programs and putting less importance on subjects like science, art, gym, history, and languages. Schools want their students to meet the proper benchmarks so they do away with all the things that help round out a students education. Without touching other subjects, a student will never find their passion or be somewhat knowledgeable in various aspects of life.

The students who were supposed to be helped by the NCLB act have been the ones who have been negatively affected the most. When cheating occurs, students who may need the extra help and attention are be falsely deemed as sufficient in certain areas. They are just passing through the benchmarks because administrators need them to, instead of passing through them because that is there actual level of education. Also, schools that struggle to pass are forced to take drastic budget cuts in which programs that help under-privileged students are taken away.

The No Child Left Behind Act has caused more harm than good. It has made schools take budget cuts, let students to fall through the cracks of the system, turned honest administrators into become cheaters, and caused a child’s education to become strictly about test scores and benchmarks. It needs to be repealed in order for our education system to become the best that it can be. Our nation needs to give our students the best opportunity in a global job marketplace and that all begins with a solid education. The No Child Left Behind Act started as a great idea but ultimately caused much damage to the very core of our education system.

Works Cited

“Leaving Children behind: How No Child Left behind Will Fail Our Children.” Monty Neill The Phi Delta Kappan , Vol. 85, No. 3 (Nov., 2003), pp. 225-228. 2 April 2013.

“Principal Encouraged Cheating, Staffers Say.” Kristen A. Graham and Dylan Purcell. http://www.philly.com. 12 February 2012. Web. 10 April 2013.

“The New Demography of America’s Schools: Immigration and the No Child Left Behind Act.” Randy Capps, Michael Fix, Julie Murray, Jason Ost, Jeffrey S. Passel, and Shinta Herwantoro. http://www.urban.org. Web. 8 April 2013.

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