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The Seven Deadly Sins of No Child Left Behind

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"The Seven Deadly Sins of No Child Left Behind"

For the assignment, I read an article titled "The Seven Deadly Sins of No Child Left Behind", by Paul D. Houston, published in Phi Delta Kappan. The article dealt with NCLB, and how it is more flawed than anyone realized it was going to be, and that there are many aspects of the law is leading Education in the wrong direction.

The first "sin" discussed is that people automatically assume schools are broken. While some people think that, others believe that the system is working well, but focusing on the wrong parts. One major problem with the system is that is treats all of the school districts, schools and students basically the same, not realizing that different districts, schools and students have different needs. A second issue Houston found with NCLB is the fact that schools have become so obsessed with test scores, especially as a measurement of how a child has progressed in a school year. While some testing is necessary, standardized testing does not allow for outside factors, such as special needs students and students with test anxiety to be taken into account for possible lower scores. If a school scores lower than is expected, it is automatically the school's fault, not problems one or more students may be having. The third problem is that the law is not doing enough to help those who were brought up in poverty, who do not have the opportunities afforded to others. Teachers and schools do everything they can to prevent this from happening, but they cannot catch every child in the country, it is not feasible. Another major issue brought up is the fact that NCLB uses threats of cutting funds and other punishments as motivation for schools to comply. Lacking clarity is discussed briefly, talking about whether children with special needs should be held to the same standards as other students. Mentioned is the fact that in other professions, experts tell legislators what they believe should be done, and legislators generally follow the expert's advice, while in education, the professionals are basically taken out of the process. The last issue talked about is that NCLB is hurting our ability to stay involved in the global environment.

The author basically tells the reader that NCLB is flawed in many ways, and is causing more harm than good. In order to change this, it may be better to start from scratch, and come up with a new plan, including input from staff on all levels of the school district, parents, and even students themselves. By starting from scratch and including input from all aspects of the education system, legislators would be able to better understand what children need from their teachers in order to fulfill their full potential.

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