No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 (NCLB)
The No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 (NCLB) was a United States Act of Congress that mandates serial testing of children's educational progress in specific areas of education, promoted and managed by the federal government. NCLB was originally proposed by the administration of George W. Bush and managed legislatively by co-author, Senator Ted Kennedy.
NCLB received overwhelming bipartisan support in Congress because it seemed to offer a standard whereby children's performance could be verified. In an eroding economic environment where more and more children were failing academically, NCLB seemed to offer hope of reversing that trend by holding educators accountable.
According to Wikipedia, "The Act requires states to develop assessments in basic skills to be given to all students in certain grades, if those states are to receive federal funding for schools. The Act does not assert a national achievement standard; standards are set by each individual state."
The numbers behind NCLB are huge. The budget supporting NCLB expanded from $42.2 billion in 2001 to $54.4 billion in 2007. Unfortunately, despite all the money thrown at NCLB, the worst fears of its detractors have been realized. It has proven impossible to legislate excellence.
Many detractors have criticized the lack of funding for implementation of NCLB, as the amounts authorized by the House have not been requested by the Department of Education, thus further stressing groaning state budgets wherein the program is mandated but not fully funded. As a result, states have chosen to cut funding to other education programs which may serve to actually educate the students being tested, in some cases.
This is merely predictable. The American public school system has systematically drained competition – the Invisible Hand – from the school system. In its place it has substituted union activism and a "one size fits all" approach. Within this environment, massive testing has merely added a new level of dysfunction.
What critics claimed would happen is that rather than providing an effective incentive for reform, NCLB would simply encourage an already damaged system to protect itself via various forms of cheating. This is exactly what has happened.
A wave of cheating has spread through American schools, led by a resentful educational establishment. The children are no doubt aware of the shenanigans and thus NCLB has made outlaws of both educators and their students.
In addition, many educators plan their curricula around "studying to the test" these days, making children memorize rote answers that will elevate their test scores – but do nothing to advance children's overall education.
One debacle regarding NCLB took place in Atlanta where at least 178 teachers and principals in Atlanta Public Schools cheated to raise student scores on high-stakes standardized tests, according to a report from the Georgia Bureau of Investigation.
No doubt there will be thousands of articles written about this most recent "teacher and principal cheating scandal." Yet, what is taking place is entirely predictable and is taking place throughout the United States. This only happens to be the largest outbreak reported and therefore is most newsworthy.
There is no law in the world that cannot be subverted; most laws of any significance are disobeyed on a regular basis. This is why the more laws a society has the more corrupt it gets. This is happening in the US public school system, which was always dysfunctional and corrupt and is only more so now.
Today's testing cannot "gild the lily." There is none. The only hope of solving the education problem in the US is to allow educational facilities to compete – to privatize the educational establishment from top to bottom and let the Invisible Hand do its work.
Of course, the Anglosphere elites that have adopted and supported this system are not apt to allow such competition. They are not interested in using the system to create alert, educated individuals capable of critical thinking. They seek socialized workers and cannon fodder; that is what public education has been constructed to provide. Corruption is far more tolerable than an educated populace.