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Thursday, April 22, 2004

What is Left Behind?

"No Child Left Behind" is a wonderful slogan. As far as slogans go. The images it instills in the mind are positive ones. I think of a house on fire with a parent, neighbor or fireman rushing into a smoke filled room to save a child. Or parents going on a weekend get-away, but being thoughtful enough to think junior is just as deserving of a mini-vacation from the drudgery of the world as they are.

In education, which is where this phrase has been hitched to since President Bush declared this to be a goal of his administration, the concept is laudable. Beyond conceptualization, how is this country doing with respect to the president's goal? Michael Dobbs, a Washington Post Staff Writer has looked at this program and it's impact on education.

While the program has focused on achievement by students and creating a system of accountability within the education system itself, the impact is far reaching in some instances with respect to traditional curriculum. While the stated objective of every student in the country achieving proficiency in reading and math by 2014, it has impacted some schools by causing the elimination for instance of some arts, foreign language and physical education classes.

I recommend reading Michael Dobbs article on this subject.

In Volusia County Florida, the School Board is faced with the loss of $626,145 from their academic budget. See Linda Trimble's article from the Daytona Beach News- Journal about the impact of No Child Left Behind in this district.

Has the President adequately funded No Child Left Behind? See one view here.

This view, by Mary Cohen, U.S. Department of Educations - "American students probably won't reach 100 percent proficiency in core subjects by 2014 as required by the No Child Left Behind Act, but they'll be closer than if the law weren't in place." presented in this Kansas City Star article.

Are we simply leaving behind old ways? Are we better off by focusing on reading and math in early education? What is lost by discarding broader education curriculums and paring back to focus on an objective with a 10 year timeline. One that as Mary Cohen states we probably will not reach.
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