Is Minnesota Leaving the NCLB Behind?
Jan 3, 2008
Legislators are often willing to rearrange the budget in favor of students, but the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) may be an exception. President Bush’s plan for improving school standards through regular standardized testing has not received positive feedback from a large portion of teachers across the country. The bill signed into law in 2002 is expiring and will need to be reenacted, or done away with, in the near future.
As far as Minnesota legislators are concerned, the second option is better than the first. Both Republicans and Democrats in the state have been loudly voicing their concerns about the effectiveness of the bill, so much so that they are considering pulling out altogether.
The NCLB mandates that students partake in standardized testing to demonstrate their ability to meet established academic standards, ones that differ from state to state. Teachers whose students don’t meet the grade are held accountable, and schools with poor results may be forced to reassign students to other schools. This is a problem for many educators who feel they can only do so much to whip their students into shape, especially teachers who work in low-income urban areas. The problem has become so great that some schools have been accused of fishing for reasons to expel students whose scores contribute to lowered averages, and in doing so, completely leave students behind.
If it chooses to pull out of the program, Minnesota would be forced to give up some of its funds. According to estimates, Minnesota schools could lose as much as $250 million per year if they choose not to participate. However, legislators claim the state can make up for much of the losses with the money it saves on test preparation. The choice is not an easy one, and more research is needed to clarify the possible repercussions of leaving the program.
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