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No Child Left Behind Act must undergo change

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Jeff Bleighley
June 19, 2009
EDITOR'S NOTE: This is among commentaries written by students in the Washington Seminar program at Janesville Parker High School.

Education is one of the most important things in a country. Because education is such an important issue, many have thought that the only way to see if students are learning is by testing. The No Child Left Behind Act, as written, is too test-based, and the intent of the law is bold but too narrow.


Having every child at grade level by 2014 is indeed noble, but is very impractical. Everyone whom I spoke to in Washington said this was a ridiculous idea.


“We put a 100 percent in there because what are you going to put in there, 98 percent? We’ll go for broke,” said Congressman Dale Kildee.


Everybody in Washington also agreed that testing is one way—but not the only way—to determine if students are learning.


“The best way is to have a individual evaluation of every student. Problem is, however, that it is not economical, said Jack Jennings, president of the Center on Education Policy.


We must find a better way to determine if students are learning. Most the people I spoke to said that, for the time being, testing is the only way to determine if students are learning.


The NCLB Act does not focus enough attention on the high schools. The law requires testing every two years in grades 2-8 and only once in high school. There should be more attention on high schools and graduation rates.


Annual Yearly Progress (AYP) is an amount of progress each school must get in each state. Each state determines that progress. A student could be considered basic in reading in his state, but a couple of states away the same student could be labeled proficient. The states should communicate between each other to set up a similar platform for what the test should be like and how high the AYP should be.


Lastly, and the most important is that in the No Child Act, if you miss the AYP by a little, you miss by a mile. The act has many sanctions that happen if you do bad; however, there is no incentive in NCLB for schools to do good. There must be more flexibility for schools.


In Washington, it was the main consensus that the No Child Act will not be renewed until 2010. Also, the bill will be given a new name and will likely include much of what I have stated above.



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