In 2001, President George W. Bush signed into law the No Child Left Behind Act. The act set high standards and goals for schools to meet in an effort to raise the level of education throughout the nation’s public schools. Each state was to develop a method of assessing the basic skills for each grade in order to receive federal funding. Since 2001, the amount of federal funding has been steadily increased.
A deadline of 2014 was set in the NCLB Act for each school in every state to meet certain criteria in order to continue to receive federal funding. Under the current guidelines, many are predicting that nearly 80% of the public schools throughout America will fail to meet the high standards by the 2014 deadline.
Many educators and politicians, Democrats and Republicans, believe the solution is to re-write the standards so as not to make them so high and supposedly unobtainable. But like everything else in Congress these days, nothing is getting done. President Obama is threatening to use his presidential powers when he said, “Congress hasn’t been able to do it, so I will. Starting today, we’ll be giving states more flexibility to meet high standards.”
It sounds to me that they are more concerned about no school left behind more than they are about no child left behind.
But is lowering the standards the real answer to America’s public schools?
America’s public school system ranks among the lowest in quality compared to other industrialized nations. That’s not a result of standards that are too high, but a symptom of a system that has fatal flaws and serious malignancies.
The public schools have become the bastion of liberal sociologists and child advocates. They have created an atmosphere that has stripped teachers of any authority in the classroom. They are not allowed to discipline students as it is either a form of child abuse or it will harm the child’s self-image. Teachers in many schools are not allowed to fail students as it will harm their self-esteem.
I personally know several teachers that took early retirement because of how much their hands were tied in trying to educate students who didn’t want to be educated. One of my dearest friends was a sixth grade teacher for years when one of his students pulled a knife on him in the classroom. My friend, managed to take the student to the school office only to feel betrayed by the system that allowed the student to return to class before he was done filling out his report and himself return to the classroom. From that point on, he had no control over that class because the students picked up on what had happened. A year later, my friend retired from teaching. He told me that he loved teaching, but the social do-gooders had so ruined the system that he felt that he had been emasculated as a teacher and could no longer be effective. He equated it to being a police officer that was not allowed to carry a weapon of any kind, no hand cuffs and was not allowed to tell anyone that they were doing anything wrong.
The problem with America’s public schools isn’t the standards, but the liberal policies that have infiltrated the system like a cancer. And like a cancer, it’s going to take some serious treatment to save the schools from certain death.
Teachers need to have disciplinary powers to deal with kids that are often defiant and unwilling to learn. They need to be able to force students to be accountable for their education and the consequences that follow. If a student refuses to do their school work, the teacher need to be able to fail the student, holding them back until they finally do learn and do their work. In times past when teachers still had more authority, students learned more and test scores were higher.
Parents need to take a more active role in their child’s education. As minors, the parent is still legally responsible for their child, so why not make them responsible for their child’s education. Studies have proven that when parents take a more active role in their child’s education, the child does better in school and their test scores are higher.
If you look at countries that have the highest educational results, you will find systems that are strictly run with strong discipline and very high standards. Students are not allowed to disrupt the classroom or not do their homework. They are held accountable and do suffer the consequences for actions that are not acceptable.
Perhaps it will take schools losing their federal funding to realize the current system isn’t working. Lowering the standards will only add to the growing problem of the ineffectiveness of America’s public school system. Enforcing stricter policies and increasing parental involvement will make a difference and those schools that do them will find that they just may meet the higher standards by 2014 and will continue to get their federal funding. But more importantly, they’ll discover that they will start producing a better educated generation.