Saturday, June 5, 2010

No Child Left Behind - Has it created the biggest flaw in our education system?

So as much as I understand the logic behind such a law, here's what I feel is a major flaw in the system. Once again, teachers and parents underestimate a child's ability to learn and be challenged academically. Instead of trying to bring the weakest student up to the level of the brightest child in the class, you'll often find that the teachers teach at the level of the poorest student. Is this due to the laziness of the teachers, the ignorance of parents or perhaps both? I have seen teachers disliking the fact that some parents push their kids harder than others. Those same teachers (and it seems that more teachers are in this category nowadays) would simply complain that because the child is more advanced than the rest of the class, they get bored easily and is disruptive in class. They push this as a social misbehavior to the parents instead of identifying the real problem. Yes, perhaps this child is more advanced than the other kids, and yes, perhaps he/she is bored with the easier lessons. Shouldn't the teacher, instead of complaining about the child being disruptive, either try to teach a more challenging curriculum or pull the kid aside earlier in the day to give him/her a separate workload that is more on par to his/her level? Many teachers claim that it is hard to bring the weak students up on a higher level but yet I have taught so many of these "weaker" students, only to find that they are just as abled to be challenged. They may need a little extra explanation on the side, but they do get it and after a while of getting used to the higher level, they actually start exceling. You can't expect every child to grasp the concept immediately but I do believe in "practice makes perfect".

I think that the law instead should push parents to be more involved with their childrens' education and to work hand-in-hand with the teachers to push their kids up a higher standard of education. Yes, perhaps we do need to have a different salary appraisal for teachers. In addition to their salaries, maybe teachers should be treated very much like sales representatives. Let's create a commission/bonus structure. Teachers who prove to be better equipped, better educated in their subjects, and who show more dedication and produce better results in their students should be paid more. There should not be a set pay as not every teacher will be in that category. Maybe this way, we will see better improvements in test scores throughout the country.

With this law of no child left behind, although we are seeing an improvement in standardized test scores, we are NOT seeing the bigger picture. Our country should be one of the top in the world academically, but unfortunately we are falling short of that in comparison to many other countries. The U.S. is often ranked in the high 20s in these international subject comparisons. That is horrible considering we are a developed nation and a big powerhouse as such. Are other countries' gene pools better than ours? I don't think so. The problem lies with us teaching the minimum in schools instead of promoting a higher standard of education for our children. I say spend more time with the weaker students through remedial classes and have the parents and teachers work more together to produce better results. Let's start changing the mentality that homework is bad. Like I've said before..."practice makes perfect"!

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