Why The NCLB Overhaul is Important To Me and My Family and The Community As A Whole
Since the schools where I live in the suburbs of Philadelphia are a little better off on many levels than the public schools situated within the city limits one would think it safe to assume that the NCLB (No Child Left Behind) Law would not effect me or my son personally. Nothing could be further from the truth. My son’s school district is Upper Darby which, despite some controversy and rumors of it being a bad district, really is a good school at its core. One of the reasons that this district tests lower than average is because children with disabilities come from all over to attend school here as their programs are amazing. These children take the same standardized test as the rest of the school. I truly believe that if the reform of NCLB and the new freshman Academy, my son and his classmates will be OK. He will have to work extra hard to make up for the basics he was not taught up until now because the pressure put on principals and teachers by the original NCLB law. Fortunately I have the ability to spend time with him and help him. He is also fortunate enough to test well above-average. What about the average child though? Or how about the child whose parents have to struggle to put food on the table and just don’t have as much free time? Hopefully this reform President Obama has outlined this year will make it possible for them to catch up as well.
What George Bush’s NCLB Law Has Done to Schools
As you can see on this graph (please click) there is a very important subject being ignored by schools in order to prepare the students for the PSSA’s. Science is at an all-time low. If you pick grade level seven, science isn’t even on the chart. Without science, where are our scientists, our medical discoveries, our NASA employees, our doctors, our vets-the list is endless-going to come from? Without this new reform from President Obama, certainly not from the public schools in the suburbs of Philadelphia called Upper Darby. That to me is very sad. My child’s fate was set before he was even out of elementary school. If he becomes interested in any career later in life where science is needed, he will have to learn it on his own, with me, as they won’t be teaching him what he will need in school. That is, unless President Obama’s overhaul doesn’t go through.
Other basics such as handwriting are being completely ignored. When my son was in fourth grade, I questioned his teacher on the fact that my son was never taught cursive in school. His teacher, who I will call Mr .A, told me that there was too much pressure being put upon the teachers to have the school as a whole reach the standards set forth by George Bush’s NCLB law or lose funding. Because of this, the entire school year was built around the PSSA’s and what they would be tested on. It was this flaw that made it impossible for the teachers to take the time to teach our children the basics. I was ignorant to this fact and believed my son would automatically be taught all basic, fundamental subjects during the school year.
What President Obama Plans To Do To Change This Scenario
The thing that had upset me the most about the original NCLB law was that other basic subjects and fundamentals were being ignored to prep the students for the reading and math on the PSSA’s. Especially when I realized my son could not read if what was written was done so in cursive. Granted, I should have been paying more attention, but his grades were excellent and it never really came up. Part of President Obama’s reform is to include these basics, and performance in other subjects along with the PSSA scores in math and reading.*
How This Change in Schools Will Come About
According to President Obama’s Blueprint for reform* these are the five things he intends to change. Each of the five points has their own subsets, so I highly recommend reading the blueprint in its entirety by clicking here.
1) College- and Career-Ready Students
2) Great Teachers and Leaders in Every School
3) Equity and Opportunity for All Students
4) Raise the Bar and Reward Excellence
5) Promote Innovation and Continuous Improvement
By implementing these changes it will help me as a parent get my child ready for life after high school. Whether that be college, or straight to work. This not only effects me, but the whole community as this generation of high school students graduate and become productive members of society. After all, that should be the goal for all of our children.
*Please see blueprint for Obama’s change at http://www2.ed.gov/policy/elsec/leg/blueprint/publicationtoc.html