Scrap No Child Left Behind!

One Teacher's Opinion

It is time! The Experiment Has Failed!

Here is the article that provoked this commentary:

Having taught public school during the period of 2005 until now, with the exception of a three-year hiatus, I have arrived at a conclusion that the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 2001, better known as No Child Left Behind (NCLB), is inherently discriminatory and downright harmful to the education of many of our children in public schools. Perhaps the discriminatory impact is unintentional, in a way that many of our politicians and lawmakers have not considered.

The high-stakes testing associated with the law assaults students who have no other options for education, such as the elite private schools that Arne Duncan's and President Obama's children attend, as well as the children of most lawmakers and wealthy Americans advocating for a continuation of this law's high-stakes testing. NCLB, to these elite institutions and privileged students, is a regimen to which "the other" children are subjected. Children fortunate enough to attend private school enjoy a very different learning experience. Why are we as citizens of a country with such high democratic ideals comfortable with this dual system of education? Why are children in public schools subjected to "teaching to the test" and drills almost exclusively in reading and math, when children attending elite private schools, engage is deep study of Art History, Economics, Greek literature, Latin, Foreign Languages, and pretty much anything the private schools believe would encourage critical thinking? Is not what is good for the goose also good for the gander?

To obtain a minimum degree of instruction in these traditional, liberal arts subjects, why does a parent have to attend a charter school lottery and hold his/her breath with hands clasped in prayer, hoping that their child's name is called? Why, then, do certain reformers, including many of our political leaders who stand poised to reauthorize this law, have the nerve to use the ubiquitous presence of these charter school lotteries as spurious evidence that teachers in public schools are not doing their jobs? Oh, please.

We need to stop this NCLB madness and scrap it altogether. We are losing generations of children to a substandard education where they are never afforded the opportunity to compete with the children of privileged politicians who never have to waste valuable time prepping for these ridiculous standardized tests. Enough already!

Venola M. Rolle