What is No Child Left Behind?
Known previously as the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), in 2001 No Child Left Behind (NCLB) became the main law for public education in the United States to hold classrooms from kindergarten to twelfth grade accountable. Claiming that some demographic groups were more likely to succeed than others because of opportunity, NCLB was created to give educational opportunities to students they identified as disadvantaged. The idea is that every student would be receiving equal education, thus closing the achievement gap. The means for accomplishing this goal included enforced state educational standards, annual tests on core subjects for students, and penalties/alternations to public schools failing to improve scores on these tests. In in the case of poor performing schools (evaluated by test scores), either grants would be given to schools to attract better teachers or students would be eligible to move to a better school choice, or receive free tutoring.
What are the Results of No Child Left Behind?
After a 9 year run, NCLB’s performance-driven system created much stress amongst school staff members and students. Test scores were widely published and teacher replacements created a pressure among educators that is now seen as harsh. This also brewed corruption as states water downed their tests to boost their schools’ scores and wholly lost focus on what matters most – the student. Students also failed to see any significant improvements in learning. Though no longer enacted, NCLB is considered to be a forerunner to Common Core because it continues to enforce testing using nationwide standards. What is Common Core Curriculum? Many claim this is a “teach-to-the-test” mentality rather than a “teach-for-community-success” mentality. Of all the problems with Common Core, the greatest fear is the federal government has taken a dictator-level of control over our children’s education.
How Does No Child Left Behind Impact Homeschoolers?
Although there may come a day when No Child Left Behind becomes reauthorized, Common Core has taken the gauntlet for standardizing education. 87% of students in the U.S. are participating in an education that teaches Common Core, yet as of today homeschoolers still maintain protection against nationalized curriculum, tests, teacher certifications and databases with student information. Perhaps a day may come when Common Core is fully implemented into all states and government officials require all students–including homeschoolers and private school students–to be tested and taught according to the national standard. However, today is not that day. We must use this time to continue standing for educational freedom.