How Effective is the No Child Left Behind Act?

There have been many laws that have been effective throughout history. However, there are a few acts that were passed, which had negative effects on the community. The No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) was passed with good intentions, but it required too many high-test scores from school systems. The Act provided adequate funding for school for those that would adhere to its guidelines, but those schools that did not faced several consequences. The NCLB affected students, teachers, and the community more than government officials had thought it originally would.

The No Child Left Behind Act required all students to meet the same high standards, regardless of their background (Collins). However, the act did not take into account, that not all students test the same. In many schools, there are students with disabilities who have to work twice as hard to achieve good grades on their tests (Collins). In the Thompson and Allen case in 2012; it suggested that students of color in grades K-12 have not experienced higher achievement because of liability through standardized tests, they have been used to hide educational inequalities (Conn). Through this case, it shows the NCLB is used to cover up the deficiencies in the education system. This leads to many students of color going to college and having to take remedial classes to catch them up to speed. According to studies, many schools with low test scores have more students who juggle staying in school with the demands of family, financial obligations, and other risk factors (Woods). These results show analysts, students who have more than just their school work to focus on have a harder time maintaining good grades in school. Children pay attention to everything they catch on to every little thing that is happening in their environment. It came to no surprise when studies show that students are aware of the inequalities that occur with the No Child Left Behind Act (Lewis). The children who go to the inner-city schools have to learn in an environment of worn out facilities, poor teaching, and very little access to challenging courses (Lewis). These students struggle to learn due to the lack of funding in their school. The No Child Left Behind Act emphasizes proficiency in reading and mathematics, and provides funding for those areas (Woods). This is good that students will receive funding for these key subjects if the test scores are adequate. However, students also need the other core subjects in order to have a full education. These students need to have knowledge in all subjects in order to be successful in life. The students who excel in courses at their school, and need more challenging courses, do not have access to the classes they need to help them reach their full potential.

The No Child Left Behind Act is very stressful not only on the students, but it is puts a lot of pressure on the teachers too. Many teachers feel like their salaries and jobs are at risk if their test scores are low (PsyExtra). The thought of losing your job can become extremely stressful on anyone, especially if a teacher has a family at home. The stress of losing their jobs has caused many teachers go to drastic measures to ensure their students pass standards tests of the NCLB. Some teachers have lowered their curriculum to improve test scores, while others have started to teach to the test (PsyExtra). These do not benefit the students; they only benefit the teachers to ensure job security for themselves. There have also been cheating scandals, where teachers have changed student’s incorrect answers to the correct answers in order to improve test scores (Woods). Teachers are supposed to lead by example; this causes students to believe it is okay for them to cheat on important tests. It also teaches students, if they do not know the answer, then their teacher will correct their answer, so they will pass the test; this is extremely harmful for the students because they will eventually not study for their tests at all. In many areas, the NCLB causes the most experienced and qualified teachers to leave low-performing schools and go to higher performing schools where they have more job security (PsyExtra). This of course causes principles to hire less qualified teachers in low performing schools (PsyExtra). When the more qualified and experienced teachers leave the low-performing schools for job security, they hurt the students. The students must learn from teachers who are just out of school, who are just learning the best ways to teach students. The foundation for highly qualified teachers relies on the qualities that make up the teacher (Lewis). Many teachers who have been teaching for a number of years, care deeply about their students and are willing to do anything to help them succeed. However, teachers who are just getting out of college may not care as much about their students, due to them being so new at their career. Parents want teachers committed to helping students succeed and better skills at teaching diverse students (Lewis). Most parents are willing to do anything to help their child succeed in their educational career. For most parents, they believe they need an educator for their child who can communicate with all types of children. Also, one who is willing to go above and beyond to ensure their students succeed, and with so many experienced teachers leaving low-performing schools many parents have become concerned about these issues. This causes the students to suffer in their test scores, which causes the school to suffer.

The No Child Left Behind Act affects the community in many ways that one would not normally think about. Once the NCLB was passed, many schools became terrified of missing the act’s guidelines, which resulted in schools getting rid of students who could hold back the schools pass rate (Knefel). Of these students, they mainly consisted of students of color and students with disabilities (Knefel). It is unfair for students to be kicked out of a school simply because they do not test well. This was extremely harmful for student’s future, due to future employment opportunities and getting into the college of their dreams. The teachers and administrators should work with these students to ensure these students will pass their standards test, so their NCLB numbers do not go down. Many students are kicked out of their schools, they are likely to end up on the streets and are more likely to become arrested (Knefel). For many students, once they go into Juvenile Detention Center; it becomes the end of their education (Knefel). It is very hard for many students to maintain a steady job after going into a Juvenile Detention Center, due to their lack of confidence and respect of authority. Many employers will be cautious when hiring students with a criminal background due to the possibility of theft and other work place conflicts. Many students also find it very hard to go back to school once they go to a Juvenile Detention Center, because they find it awkward to be several years older than their classmates, especially when they are still in high school. The NCLB shuts out the parents with its reform (Lewis). This causes a lot of disciplinary problems with students in the schools because many school districts do not take parent involvement seriously (Lewis). Parents are just as important to a student’s success as a teacher is. If a parent is involved in a student’s school work, generally the student is successful and behaves well. However, if there is a lack of communication amongst the schools, then parents find it hard to be a part of their student’s educational lives.

The No Child Left Behind Act has had a great effect on the educational community. The tests prove the environment students come from; plays an important role in how well they test. The Act has caused many teachers to change how they teach in order to receive passing test results. It has also caused the community to experience high crime rates due to the number of students being forced out of school to meet the standards. The No Child Left Behind Act was passed with good intentions, but the politicians who passed the bill did not think about the educational body as a whole. They did not think about how students test differently, which causes the NCLB to have a negative effect on the community.




Works Cited


Collins, Belva C., Sarah Hawkins, Cathy Galyon Keramidas, Elizabeth M. Mclaren, John W.     Schuster, Barbara N. Slevin, and Denise Lacy Spoelker. “The Effect of No Child Left Behind on Rural Students with Low Incidence Disabilities.” Rural Special Education Quarterly 24.1 (2005): 48-53. Academic Search Complete. Web. 27 Mar. 2017.


Conn, Daniel R. “Chapter 3: What Are We Doing to Kids Here?” Curriculum & Teaching Dialogue 18.1/2 (2016): 25-40. Academic Search Complete. Web. 27 Mar. 2017.


Knefel, Molly. “Incarceration vs. Education.” Nation 300.19 (2015): 20-25. Academic Search Complete. Web. 24 Mar. 2017.


Lewis, Anne C. “Washington News.” Education Digest 73.1 (2007): 69-72. Academic Search Complete. Web. 29 Mar. 2017.


“No Child Left Behind Supporting Public Charter Schools.” PsycEXTRA Dataset (n.d.): n. pag. Web.

Woods, Allison. “No Child Left Behind.” (n.d.): n. pag. Web.






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