The No Child Left Behind Act, which you can -- and should -- read about at the source, is criticized incessantly by school officials, from teachers to the superintendent.
They complain that the act forces schools to spend all their time "teaching to the test," at the expense of arts, culture ... and recess.
They complain that the act forces schools to maintain a high standard -- and high performance -- but does not provide extra money.
Some states, Connecticut one of them, even tried legal action against the federal government over this act.
I like the No Child Left Behind Act, I think it was one thing I am happiest for from the Bush administration.
The No Child Left Behind Act is an effort by the government to force abysmal schools to show to the public what they are doing with the millions of dollars they take each year from the state and federal governments.
Taxpayers are getting beat twice for education, and yet only about half the kids in the country are getting educated.
The act forces schools to recognize that rich or poor, black or white, it doesn't take just money to put a kid in a desk and have someone who knows something about something to tell a kid something and have that kid remember it.
In fact, it doesn't take a lot more than an effort on the part of the student and the teacher.
The teacher should make the effort or face losing their job. The kid should make the effort or face a bleak future, period.
The No Child Left Behind Act simply asks a school how they can spend millions and millions of dollars a year on education, and not be providing an education!
If taxpayers are the ones funding education, then I think we should get to make the rules, too. School officials -- like superintendents -- make more than $100,000 a year. That's just too much. I think a school superintendent should make no more than 75,000 a year, period. And teacher shouldn't make more than 60,000.
Now, before anyone jumps down my throat ... I think it should be that way because those are decent wages, and if you get people that really care about the education of the children, then they can deal with that kind of money, especially with the perks. It's more than I make, and I have a good job, so if I can live on it, so can they. If they want to choose money over being a teacher, so be it. Go ahead.
If you make it about the money, then you're going to get people that are in it for the money, and then they ktake the money.
And then that's where the money goes.
The biggest complaint seems to be the whole "teaching to the test" blather I keep hearing. So? What the hell is wrong with teaching kids enough that they can pass a test of their crucial cognitive skills?
How is that not automatically labeled the most idiotic concept in the history of the world?
So, what should they be learning how to do in school? Dance? Sing? Be completely inundated with "culture"?
No! They should be learning how to read, how to study, how to answer questions in a literate manner. They should learn to speak English, and add numbers. And if they can't do that then something is wrong.
And if the school system can piss away $25 million to $100 million dollars and not be able to have the majority of kids learn at a normal level, then they're simply not spending the money on the right things.
I'm old enough now to say this:
- When I was in grammar school, we had no air conditioning, and no cafeteria.
- We weren't allowed to wear shorts to school. We had a couple of assemblies a year, maybe 2 field trips.
- Our classes were math, science, history, English, reading, art and music, and recess. That was it.
- If you did poorly, you failed, and had to go to summer school. If you still failed, you stayed back a grade. No one wanted to stay back a grade because then they would be "the kid who got held back."
Now, it's totally different. School has become something other than school. It's become this place where people think you should make children into little adults where they make their own decisions, and have fun, and enjoy going there. They go there and learn how others live, how people feel differently. They go there and learn how people dance in every frigging continent on the globe.
That's not school. School isn't supposed to be fun, it's supposed to challenge you. You're supposed to go there and learn things, and learning is hard work.
It's easier to give slower kids easier work, because then they finish and you can move on without conflict or difficulty.
Yeah, I know, some of you have kids that are just the smartest things, and they go to school and they love it and have a great experience and are smart. Congratulations, you have a smart kid.
But when you put average and below-average kids in an environment like that, where the if they fail the challenge the challenge is made easier, then they're not going to get smarter, which, hello, is the goal of schooling.
So, no, I don't think the No Child Left Behind Act is detrimental to education, I think it's detrimental to bloated, misguided school systems that need to be revamped. The problem is that the people in power are the ones who should be tossed out, and they won't let that happen.
The most important aspect of the act is that it finally takes money away from failing schools instead of just dumping more money on them. It says to a failing school, "You threw that money out the window. Now, work with less."
It forces a school to restructure itself from the administration down -- if they get rid of the all the crap that has nothing to do with the education part of the education system, there's plenty of money to run a good system and pay to test the kids annually.
School vouchers and the No Child Left Behind Act are perhaps the last chances to make our education systems work.