Introduction to the No Child Left Behind Policy

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This is presentation serves as an introduction to the No Child Left Behind policy. It was created for my Honors Public Policy class at the State University of New York at Albany.

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  • ESEA was created in 1965 in conjunction with LBJs war on poverty, this was originally only authorized for 5 years, but has been reauthorized every five years ever since Title 1 was created under this act which targeted funding in schools that were comprised of more than 40% poverty stricken students , and some money from NCLB still goes to this today 35 years later however, the education system was not much improved and was under attack during the 2000 election where governor Bush ran on a campaign that stressed leaving no child left behind, stressing that there was a large gap between affluent students and poor students Then after announcing his plans for the No Child Left Behind Act just three days after his inauguration, it was signed into law in 2002
  • School districts are also expected to meet a proficiency level in all subgroup categories including, income, race and ethnicity, disability, and those who are limited English proficient After two years of being considered a failing school, students have the option to receive tutoring or be transferred to another school deemed as passing, which is intended to be funded by the district After five years of being considered a failing school, a school becomes subject to “reconstruction” under NCLB which requires the district to chose at least one of four options for restructuring the school. These four options include reopening the school as a charter school, replacing all or most of the staff, entering into a contract with a private management company, or turning the operation of the school over to the state.
  • Under No Child Left Behind, four essential programs were created that are required to be put in place within all school districts However, a district is allowed to decide where up to 50% of the federal funds can be allocated depending on their particular district’s needs in an attempt to cater to the specific needs of districts This aspect of the law is designed to transfer decision-making power from the federal government to the states and local districts.
  • According to The National Assessment for Educational Progress aka “The Nation’s Report Card” test scores have improved in specific subjects among certain subgroups Ex. Closing the achievement gap
  • Further, many question why in an underfunded situation President Bush only requested a little over half of the allotted money he could have for several of the acts initiatives. In addition many criticize the fact that funds are subtracted when a district fails to meet standards as these funds could be considered essential in improving the school While federal funds only comprises 8% of a school district’s budget, with the new trend of failing district budgets, and an increased number of cuts being made at the state level, federal funding is critical ----------------------------------- Many fear that teaching towards the test will diminish the ability of humans to think analytically, and rather simply learn a small set of skills that will enable them to pass a standardized test. Science, the arts, and social studies are being put by the waist side
  • One of the biggest themes in Policy Paradox is the issue of Ambiguity which can be directly applied to NCLB in that Initially NCLB received an overwhelming amount of bipartisan support but the law soon fell under great scrutiny causing politicians to have to sort through an overwhelming amount of uncertain issues that can go in a number of different directions with no clear solution
  • In what fair way can it be measured? --ex. An example of this is do standardized tests provide an accurate means of measuring whether a student is proficient?
  • Introduction to the No Child Left Behind Policy

    1. 1. No Child Left Behind True or False?
    2. 2. The Origins of NCLB <ul><li>ESEA (the Elementary and Secondary Education Act) is established in 1965 </li></ul><ul><ul><li>A law that funded programs in schools heavily populated with poor children </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Governor Bush ran on a campaign that stressed that “no child should be left behind” in the 2000 election </li></ul><ul><li>President Bush’s plans for NCLB were signed into law in 2002 </li></ul>
    3. 3. The First Goal of NCLB create accountability <ul><li>Each state is to create statewide standards of a level of acceptable proficiency to be reached by each school district in the subject areas of math and reading to be tested through the means of standardized tests in grades 3-8 </li></ul><ul><ul><li>A level of 100% efficiency is expected by 2014 </li></ul></ul><ul><li>School districts are also expected to meet a proficiency level in all subgroup categories </li></ul><ul><ul><li>If a district fails to meet the standards in any one of these categories it will be deemed a “failing” school, after five years must reconstruct </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Funding incentives </li></ul>
    4. 4. The Second Goal increased flexibility as to where federal funds can be allocated within the school district
    5. 5. The Third Goal the three initiatives
    6. 6. The Fourth Goal increased parental choice in district determination <ul><li>If a district is persistently failing, a parent has the option to transfer their child, or opt for tutoring services, all funded by the district </li></ul><ul><li>This is done in an attempt to motivate schools to improve so they do not lose a portion of their budget to students who require funds to attend alternative schools </li></ul>
    7. 7. The Praises for NCLB <ul><li>Test scores have improved </li></ul><ul><li>Increased accountability has motivated districts to change and move in a more positive direction </li></ul><ul><li>Quality of education has improved through NCLB requiring districts to use proven educational methods of teaching </li></ul><ul><li>NCLB is designed to offer the highest percentage of federal funding school districts have seen to date </li></ul>
    8. 8. Criticisms of NCLB <ul><li>The funds are worth nothing if they are not enough to implement the federal mandates </li></ul><ul><ul><li>“ The tragedy is that these long overdue reforms are finally in place, but the funds are not.” –Ted Kennedy </li></ul></ul><ul><li>States are given the incentive to lower their proficiency standards in order to receive more funding </li></ul><ul><li>The long term effect of standardized tests </li></ul>
    9. 9. Connection to Deborah Stone’s Policy Paradox: The Art of Political Decision Making Ambiguity <ul><li>Initially there was tremendous bipartisan support  the law fell under great scrutiny  there developed a multitude of ways of evaluating with no clear solution </li></ul><ul><li>Stone claims that in the polis model everyone must figure out what works best for the whole of the people involved (the students) but when there are multiple theories of what is “best” a very ambiguous situation is created </li></ul>
    10. 10. Connection to Deborah Stone Equity <ul><li>The goal of equity in relation to NCLB is to distribute the funds as fairly as possible amongst school districts </li></ul><ul><li>The law appears to follow a system of rank-based distributions by distributing more funds to the schools that perform higher on their tests, however many argue they are being short-changed by this system </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Loopholes have resulted in the appearance of certain districts performing better than others districts when in reality they may be performing worse </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Districts may lose the same amount of funding for failing in one subgroup area as another district that failed in all subgroup areas </li></ul></ul>
    11. 11. Connection to Deborah Stone Numbers <ul><li>Numbers provide us with a means of measuring </li></ul><ul><ul><li>In terms of NCLB, proficiency is the figure most commonly measured </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>But how can it be fairly measured? </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>There are many different statistics, that can be used in many different ways to favor a particular side or political actor’s POV </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The numbers need to be deeply analyzed to determine an equitable way of allotting the federal funds to improve education—the main purpose of the law </li></ul></ul>

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