The the legislation does to prevent the school from

The Effects of the No Child Left Behind Legislation on Curriculum in Schools Two days after taking office in January of 2001, President George W. Bush proposed a law to the United States Congress. The law that he proposed, and Congress eventually passed, was the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001. This act, made the most drastic changes to federal law pertaining to public schools and education in over forty years. The basic purpose of this legislation is to provide children in public schools with equal opportunities to obtain high-quality education. It also mandates achievement standards and academic assessments and sets minimum proficiency standards each student must meet (No Child Left Behind NCLB, 2005). If schools fail to meet certain standards applied to assessments in math and reading, the school the government puts the school on watch and the parents of children at the school are informed. Ultimately, the No Child Left Behind Act has led to greater accountability and higher standards throughout public schools in the United States.            It is easy to identify the fundamental objectives of the No Child Left Behind Act. What is more difficult is identifying exactly how the legislation helps public schools to meet the set standards, and if the schools fail, what the legislation does to prevent the school from recurring failure. First, NCLB allocates more money to school districts. It also gives the districts more flexibility in how they use the money that they receive. This allows the school districts to give the areas of discipline that are struggling more attention and an opportunity for improvement (Ellis, 2007).The No Child Left Behind Act holds school districts accountable for meeting higher standards. One way in which the legislation does this is by making the results of the assessments available to the public. Regardless of whether or not the school passes or fails, parents of public school children have the information about their child’s school readily available. If the school is doing well, parents of the students become aware of this and feel secure about where they are sending their children to school. If the school fails to meet the standards, however, parents can become aware of this as well and choose to send their children elsewhere.  If a parent were to choose to send his or her child elsewhere, the school district that did not meet the standards would be responsible for paying for the child’s transportation to another school district (NCLB, 2005).            In order to understand how the legislation prevents schools from failing future assessments, it is necessary to examine the actual assessment given to the children in public schools. Under the No Child Left Behind Legislation, students all over the country must participate in annual assessments (Cortiella, 2005). Students must be assessed in are Language Arts, Reading, Mathematics and Science. The assessment process, in which the students participate, is often referred to as “High-stakes testing” (Cotriella, 2005). High-stakes testing is testing that produces results that have important consequences on the test taker. These results could include graduating from high school, receiving scholarships or receiving a license to practice law.In order for students to pass these high-stakes tests however, they are required to learn the material that is to be covered on each test. Because there is a large amount of material covered on each test, many problems arise as a result of teachers having the responsibility to cover such a large amount of material, in an often-inadequate amount of time or with limited resources (Ellis, 2007). Many students suffer because teachers can no long help children with certain special needs or children that are gifted. In addition, as a result of teachers teaching their students the necessary material to meet the standards of NCLB, schools cut many, very important subjects from the curriculum (Lemann, 2008). Because there are many negative impacts of the No Child Left Behind legislation, it is necessary to exam how the legislation influences curriculum in schools and determine whether the benefits of the act, outweigh the disadvantages. How the No Child Left Behind Legislation Assesses Students            The No Child Left Behind Legislation requires students to be assessed on a yearly basis. State governments design this assessment as a criterion-referenced test (Smyth, 2008). These tests are not designed to compare students with each other, but rather to gauge the students’ competency levels in a single behavioral objective in a specific course of study (Smyth, 2008). Although the government has assessed students since World War I, it was not until the No Child Left Behind Act that the results of these assessments had a direct effect on all schools across the nation. Since the government now has control over the consequences placed on schools that do not pass these assessments, the stakes to do well have significantly risen (Smyth, 2008).            Since the government can now place consequences on schools that fail to meet standards, the pressure to pass these tests is much higher, which causes teachers to teach to the test. Instead of instructing in an exploratory, lifelong learning fashion, teachers instead teach what facts their students need to know to pass the assessments and rarely break the boundaries set by the assessments (Henley, McBride, Milligan, Nichols, 2007). Teaching to the test reduces teacher creativity and does not allow teachers to use various different methods of teaching to reach different students’ needs. Because the stakes are so high to pass the tests, some students that did well before, no longer get the attention they need from their teachers in order to succeed (Cortriella, 2005).            Not only do the students only learn what they need to know to pass an assessment, many programs that were beneficial to many children are no longer in place. Many schools cut programs such as gifted education and special needs education in order to ensure that students are passing the assessments (Henley, et al, 2007). Since test preparation takes so much time out of a normal school day, gifted children no longer have time for their gifted education classes. This means, schools have replaced the priority to advance gifted students with the priority to bring the low scoring children up to proficient levels (Henley, et. al, 2007).            In addition, special needs programs are often negatively impacted by the No Child Left Behind Legislation. There are no provisions in the act that account for children with special needs or disabilities. These children are still required to pass these assessments; with no consideration given to any special needs they may have (Smyth, 2008). Because they are still required to pass the assessments, schools force teachers to teach these children concepts that are often way above their ability levels (Henley, et. al, 2007). Benefits of No Child Left Behind            The initial purpose of the No Child Left Behind Act was to improve accountability in schools and to ensure the teachers and school systems were doing their job well and meeting legitimate expectations. Along with this, NCLB also provides funding for schools across the United States, assesses children and ensures that they are at the grade level mentally in which they are enrolled, and allows for higher involvement for parents in their children’s’ education.            In October of 1957, the United States government realized that the nation was falling behind other nations in the field of education. On this date, the Soviet Union launched the first satellite into outer space. Prior to this event, the federal government had little legislation over public schools- the federal government left the issue of education up to the legislation of the states (Paige, 2006). At this point, the federal government decided that they needed to take more control of the public education system in order to keep up with students in other countries. Until the Bush introduced NCLB, the federal programs before it did improve the quality of education in the United States, but not to the extent, the government hoped NCLB would improve the quality of education.            The first premise of the NCLB Act is that the public should have specific expectations for students in the math and language arts subject areas and that each student’s ability should be measured in each subject (Paige, 2006). This ensures that once each student gets to 8th grade, they are all at, at least, a proficient level in both math and language arts. If a student did not meet the expectations, remediation opportunities would then become available. In turn, this would prevent students from falling too far behind to catch up to where they should be once they entered the 9th grade (Alexander, 2006). Also, if a school fails to meet these expectations, the government puts the school on a watch list and notifies the parents of the children that attend the school.            Public schools are funded by the government and by taxpayers of the specific school district. If the government and the citizens are contributing so much money to the public schools, the government feels that the schools should be held accountable for the students that attend the school (Alexander, 2006). If the schools had no expectations to meet, or were not held accountable for teaching their students certain things, and the federal government did not regulate this, there would be no purpose for a public education system in the United States. The No Child Left Behind Act helps to prove to citizens of the United States that the federal government is doing its part in contributing to the education of the nations’ children.Disadvantages of the No Child Left Behind Legislation             There are three major aspects of a typical school day that are negatively affected by the No Child Left Behind Legislation. These include: gifted education, special education, and recess. The NCLB Act forces schools to pass assessments in order to not lose federal funding. This, in turn, deals a big blow to these three critical programs in schools.            Because NCLB requires teachers to teach their students so much information in order to pass yearly assessments, many important programs get cut from students’ school days. One of these is gifted education. Even though gifted students perform at a higher level than non-gifted students do, teachers are concerned that if the gifted students were to leave the classroom for their gifted programs, they would miss important lessons they need to know for the yearly assessments (Henley, 2007). This is important because in the case of a gifted learner, the school day becomes boring and dumbed-down in order for the school to ensure that the student has learned the standards in order to pass the test. Because of NCLB, gifted students are pushed to the back burner and often overlooked because teachers feel they are doing all they need to do, which is passing the assessment (Henley, 2007).            Special needs children are also often overlooked because of the No Child Left Behind Legislation. Even special needs children are required to pass the same assessment as every other student. This is problematic because many special needs children are no where near the I.Q. level they need to be in order to pass the tests (Lynch 2008). Not only that, the regular extra help and special programs that they attend on a daily basis are cut from their school day. This causes even more problems when the students do not receive their extra help or special classes, because the rest of the day becomes more difficult and frustrating to get through (Shaw, 2008).  Also, if a student is already having difficulties in the classroom, they cannot be expected to learn about topics that are far beyond their level of comprehension. Schools expect teachers to teach these students the same standards as normal children and because many special needs children are incapable of meeting these standards, both the teacher and students time as school is wasted (Jennings & Rentner, 2006).            Although some would not consider recess to be an integral part of a child’s day at school, it is in fact a very important part of the day and many schools are cutting it from the daily program. Once again, schools are forced to find programs to cut because they no longer have time to cover the necessary material to meet NCLB standards. Recess offers a great deal of benefits to children and cutting it from the school day effects children in many ways. According to the Surgeon General, childhood obesity rates have tripled over the past ten years. Additionally, the Surgeon General recommends that children get at least 60 minutes of some kind of physical activity most days throughout the week (Henley, 2007). Although most students still receive some sort of exercise through physical education courses, these are often only one or two days a week and most of the time do not provide 60 minutes of activity. Since most children do not have the resources or the motivation to exercise after school, the only other way children receive this necessary exercise is through recess (Henley, 2007).            Along with helping to prevent childhood obesity, recess also contributes to the practicing of vital social skills every child needs to develop. Without recess there is little time for students to socialize with their peers in an unstructured manor (Bracey, 2008). During recess, children are able to practice skills such as comforting a friend, making new friends outside of their classroom, and dealing with conflict between peers. Without time to practice these skills, children would not learn how to deal with many situations that would arise throughout their lifetime (Henley, 2007).  Solutions to the Problems of NCLBWith the introduction of a new administration within the Federal Government of the United States, new ideas about how NCLB needs to improve have also been introduced. Now that NCLB has been in place for almost ten years, the negative effects of the legislation have become clear. President Barak Obama recognizes many of these problems and is eager to find solutions.            Even though the NCLB legislation has been in place for nearly ten years, the new president still sees many problems with the public schools in the United States. In fact, six million students still read below their current grade level (Branch-Brioso, 2009). Also, only 20 percent of students are prepared to take college courses in English, Math, and Science (Branch-Brioso, 2009). Obama also is concerned that students are only receiving an average of 25 minutes of science instruction a day. This is far below what students in other countries receive and President Obama is concerned that we are falling way behind students in other countries (Branch-Brioso, 2009). These are only a few of the many major concerns President Obama has with the education system in the United States and although he thinks NCLB is a positive program, he believes that some alternations would improve these problems.One major amendment to the NCLB legislation that President Obama thinks would help improve the legislations effectiveness would be to measure the growth of a student or a group of students rather than determining achievement by high-stakes testing. In his opinion, high-stakes testing puts too much pressure on everyone involved. This not only includes the student taking the test, but also the teachers and administrators. (Branch-Brioso, 2009) He also believes that if the schools success was measured by more than just the outcome of a standardized test, the success or lack of success would be measured much more effectively and efficiently. That way, the public would have much more information on what exactly the school is effective in or what it needs to improve.Not only are their faults in the way NCLB is structured, President Obama believes there are also faults in the way it is carried out. NCLB calls for schools to be held more accountable for their teaching. Until now, many schools that have not met the expectations have not received the consequences. Other school districts have noticed this example set by other schools which has caused other school districts to no longer worry about the consequences of failing to meet standards. The President believes that this is wrong and schools must be held accountable and if expectations are not met, consequences must be facilitated (Branch-Brioso, 2009).Conclusion and RecommendationsAfter examining many facets of the No Child Left Behind legislation, many things are clear. It is clear that the Act does in fact provide the public with knowledge of the school of which they send their child and whether or not that school is meeting or failing to meet the standards set by NCLB. It is also clear that NCLB has done a sufficient job in raising the standards and expectations of public schools. Along with these things, many vital programs within school are being cut to allow time to prepare for standardized tests. When these programs are cut, many students are negatively affected. Once effects are examined, it is clear that NCLB needs to stay in place, but the way in which is processes work need to be changed. The ideas and policies of the new leaders of the United States need to be adapted and embraced. These leaders have seen the effects of current NCLB legislation, and officials should take into consideration the propositions they have made to improve it