One of the first laws that president George W. Bush got passed that had a resounding effect on the nation as a whole was the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 (NCLB). Most parents, teachers and students know it simply as No Child Left Behindâ€ and it has become somewhat a cartoonish villain for those who work in the education system. The NCLB was set up to make sure that students were receiving the same sort of education as their peers across the country and perhaps foolishly it set out a system of funding education in order to meet its goals.
Of course what any federal education act doesn’t take into consideration is the very real and very different circumstances that face a child going to school in urban Chicago compared to a child who is attending classes in rural Iowa. The circumstances are simply not the same and no matter who says they should be that will not be changing any time soon. Where NCLB truly fails is that there is really no mechanism for determining the different circumstances or metering out when a school may not have met its standards but has still met or surpassed what would be the realistic standards of that school, student and classroom.
The NCLB instituted a nation-wide system of testing that was designed to determine whether or not a school, a teacher and a school district was meeting the requirements that were set forth by the federal government. If these schools were able to meet the requirements of the testing, then they continued to receive federal aid at a level they had grown accustomed to. Should they fail what had become extremely subjective testing criteria, they would have their funding reduced and cut off all together. What this boiled down to was that schools which were struggling continued to struggle while schools that were successful continued to have success.