No Child Gets Left Behind is one of the biggest boondoggles in education history.
- Forces principals, ironically, to leave kids behind (or push out of their public school to private schools) so school scores well on tests, because principals and teachers are judged by the scores.
- Created a mult-billion dollar tutoring industry causing parents to pay thousands out of pocket, besides the money they pay in taxes for public education.
- Created a secondary job market for teacher’s aides who cling to their job by making sure X students are considered to ‘need help’ — kids are being placed into ‘special needs’ category when they don’t belong there, so the aide can keep his/her position. Example, at one Public School in NYC, you need 12 kids in special-needs category in the fourth grade to maintain an aide to help them. If the number falls below 12, the school is not allowed the aide; he/she loses their position. There are two fourth grade classes in this school with a total of about 60 kids. So one out of every 6 kids is labeled ‘special needs’ to keep that person’s job.
- Puts tremendous pressure on the kids, plus stigmentation if they’ve been left behind or labeled ‘special needs’.
- The tests themselves are bad — example, the math test if prejudiced towards being able to read well — since most of the questions are worded out. Kids who are good in math/not so good in reading (yet) are unfairly hurt on math test.
- Has pitted parents against teachers — as parents fight to not have their kids labeled ‘special needs’ or get left behind needlessly.
On the other hand, there are benefits of the program:
- With so many kids labeled ‘special needs’, there is less stigmentation on them — since a third of the class is labeled that way. For kids who are really having trouble, this is good — since they have so many in their company.
- Has created jobs.
- Has put schools on their toes to teach kids with much ardor; at the end of the day the kids are coming out of fourth grade with test-taking skills that kids used to gain in high school. This is important in a ‘global economy’ where Americans are competing with people all over the world for jobs.
- Has pitted parents against teachers, but at the same time has joined parents with teachers fighting ‘them’ — the buerocratic education system.