April 16, 2009

No Child Left Behind

President Obama is likely to tighten the standards for the No Child Left Behind Act. The bill, passed under the Bush Administration, mandated that students in all grade levels be tested annually, and based on their performance in tests schools have their funding levels adjusted. President Obama is likely to either mandate higher test scores, rising standards, or harder tests.

This is a bad idea. The problem with the NCLB Act is not that the testing regulations are too strict, is is that the testing is too frequent. Students spend too much time studying for the tests rather than actually learning. Harder tests mean that more time will be spent on the tests, leading to an even lower quality of education at the expense of test scores.

President Obama should instead push for more charter schools and less testing. By pushing for charter schools, Obama would be opening up curricular freedom for schools to pursue educational goals. Mandating that testing only occurs at every 3 or 4 years would mean that there would still be adequate measures of progress, but still give the schools the freedom to actually teach. In the end, test scores should not be prioritized over the education of the students.

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