No child left behind. Pretty bold words, if they were true that is. However, the No Child Left Behind Act was enacted for the wrong reasons and is implemented in the wrong way.
In theory it sounds wonderful- more flexibility for the states and school districts in the use of federal money, increased accountability for the schools, and a stronger emphasis on reading with the goal of having children able to read by the 3rd grade. But where are the additional resources to help accomplish this daunting task?
The Act introduces a system that ranks schools based solely on test scores. If a parent is not satisfied with the local school's continued weak performance, they are allowed to move their child to another school.
But testing is not the cure for poor grades. Tests are only a barometer to monitor progress; they don't fix the problem, they help to diagnose it. For example, in 6th grade, we began to be tested much more frequently, but it did absolutely nothing for me.
I believe the real purpose of the Act is to destroy public schools. The creators of the Act were frustrated because a voucher system could not be put in place, so they created a system that will force more charter schools, state takeover of local school districts, and home schooling. But no matter what happens, children will continue to be educated one way or another.
-Paul Katzman is a freshman at Grady High school. Youth Radio Atlanta is produced in cooperation with WABE and funded in part by The Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation.
I am a public school teacher who believes in public education. I also believe that the conservative business community and the Business Round Table in particular is out to destroy public education in America.