Statement of the Problem
Educational success in US schools is of paramount essence in the contemporary. A number of approaches have been used without success. Teachers have also been challenged on the techniques they can use to assist the less advantaged students to achieve the pass mark. As a result, there has been amendment of the Federal Law of education in which NO Child Left Behind policy was established (Barbara, 2007). The policy has certain requirements that teachers have to adhere to in order to ensure all students are successful. This article explains some of the requirements of this policy and gives a weight of its pros and cons (Education Week, 2006). It also provides suggestions for amendments that need to be made to this policy in order to ensure success is achieved in schools.
Overview of the Problem
Implementation of new education principles will require a lot of creativity as well as exploration of tools of accountability at both the state and national levels. There has been need to improve the proficiency of students in reading assignments and mathematics, by the year 2014, to a level that makes them ready for college and career objectives. However, the challenge is that the goal has not been achieved at present because of the current policies that are focused on attainment of individual success of some pupils while others are neglected to pass exams by their own effort.
Current Conditions of NCLB Policy
One of the policies of NCLB is to be certain that all students in racial, ethnic and income groups show the ability to pass exams in reading, mathematics and other tests (Barbara, 2007). The policy recommends that if a school fails in making progress in accomplishing this goal, it is necessary to allow its students to transfer to other schools. In case the goals cannot be achieved within a period of five years, the school needs to be closed or its staff transferred to another school. The requirements of NCLB are that students should not have excuses of meeting the goals of proficiency (Mathis, 2006). The rules outlines that teachers need to have positive expectations from their students to ensure that students overcome their obstacles by responding positively towards activities of the class (George & Paige, 2005).
The other recommendation of this policy is that teachers need to make a large number of students pass the tests. However, the tests have to be made easier by ensuring the grades are low enough to allow students to obtain a pass mark or eliminate difficult subjects. The policy also recommends that schools need to develop a balanced curriculum by getting rid of arts, science, history and social studies. This will pave way for more time spent on basic mathematics and reading, in addition to practicing and taking tests (Richard, L. & Patricia, 2008). The policy also requires that teachers should give specialized attention to students who have skills below the passing point. As such, it enables the students to move a few points above average to assist in improving the progress towards the intended goal (Education Week, 2006). The policy also provides that it is not only the responsibility of the school to educate students. It is the responsibility of the society to provide the necessary support and services, law enforcement and other programs of profit and non-profit that improves the welfare of the school (Barbara, 2007).
Therefore, the policy provides that the student’s success should be a factor of contribution from mayors in taking care of education in the urban schools due to their ability to influence and initiate public services or activities in a similar way that schools contribute to academic accomplishments (Landon, 2000). The policies recommend that the curriculum should be narrowed down to science and mathematics, reading tests in order to obtain accountability tests and development of standardized tests to assist in knowing whether the American system is contributing towards development of intellectual abilities in sciences and history or languages and arts (Government research corporation, 1993). The policy provides that schools need to narrow down their Curriculum so that attention could be placed on accountability for certain skills that enable them to respond to accountability requirements.
Pros and Cons of the Current Policy
One of the pros of the current NCLB policy is that it ensures all students are considered in ensuring the overall success of an institution. It is regarded as a policy that ensures students who have disadvantages in certain areas of study can be assisted to reach the level at which their bright colleagues have reached. It also ensures the entire community is responsible for education of the child by monitoring their behaviors out of school and guiding them on the right path towards their careers objectives (Education Week, 2006). This results into a condition where students are focused on achieving their career objectives within and out of schools.
This policy also recommends the provision of amenities such as toilets and health facilities that make learning comfortable. When these facilities are provided, students are able to learn in comfortable environments and improve academically.
One of the disadvantages of NCLB policy is that it requires a lot of funding of the policy requirements. These include purchasing of more facilities that ensure the needs of all students are accounted for. It is also a policy that results into lagging behind of the progress of bright students as they have to wait for the teachers to assist the disadvantage students. It results into lack of accomplishment of the potential of these bright students.
Furthermore, the policy emphasizes more on testing and puts more pressure on teachers and results into a narrow curriculum (Barbara, 2007). A number of teachers have complained that the policy puts more emphasis on the credentials of the teacher and not experience gained in classroom (Education Week, 2006). It also emphasizes that teachers need to be equally skilled at knowing the learning skills of all students and tailor their teaching processes towards these methods.
The federal laws have been amended to incorporate a requirement that schools are to be provided with social amenities such as health services and After School Programs. It has been concluded that schools which struggle without involvement of the surrounding communities are likely to perform poorly in comparison with schools which benefit from these facilities. However, monitoring alone cannot result into success of the students. Amendments have been made so that teachers will be required to assign the students certain amount of homework that they would be doing when they return home (Education Week, 2006). These assignments ensure they are busy with their academic work and focus on their academic objectives.
The amended policies also recommend that punishment of students should be abolished and rewards offered. This is because it was observed that a number of schools were failing, and there was a need to develop a multitier system where most struggling schools are identified in each state. The next tier is aimed at assisting schools that are faced with less-serious challenges (Richard, L. & Patricia, 2008). Despite these tiers, the policy recommended that different tiers need to be developed for different challenges faced by schools.
The amended policy also proposes the setting aside rewards for schools, districts and states that are able to reach the performance target successfully by means of financial rewards to the members of staff and students (Barbara, 2007). This acts as a motivation for teachers and students to improve their teaching and learning responsibilities.
Reasons for the Adoption of the New Policy and the Issues in the Old Policy
The new policy needs to be adopted along with the old policy. This is because; there is no specific policy that can be considered to be totally effective in achieving learning needs of students. However, it is strongly recommended that the proposals of the new policy are implemented for improvement of learning requirements of students.
One of the reasons for implementation of the new policy is that it addresses issues outside classroom that ensures the needs of students are met in all perspectives of their life. For instance, provision of health services and social amenities will result into better learning environment for students. The result is that they will have good attitude towards learning process, hence higher understanding of what is being taught (Barbara, 2007).
Furthermore, the new learning approach ensures that teachers are motivated as they attend to the needs of both the bright and less advantaged students by being given bonuses and rewards of other types. Despite being overworked, the teachers will feel motivated to continue teaching both types of students.
The adoption of either formal or informal curriculum may be relevant towards the accomplishment of a reasonable amount of mainstreaming, despite the need to focus on availability of teaching and learning materials when necessary. There is also a need to examine the suitability of using uniform curriculum at the state and national level and provision of meals at the middle of the day as a way of motivating parents to ensure their children go to school. The other factor that needs to be implemented is provision of tests to determine the outcome of the learning process for students to enable them to enter formal schools as well as ensuring that once in formal schools, there should be a plan that guarantees they are tracked to ensure there is progress in schools. The other purpose of tracking is to ensure that they are helped in cases where they are unable to master the curriculum.
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