Thursday, September 04, 2008

The problem with NCLB

The problem with the No Child Left Behind program, is that it leaves children behind. The program is designed to help all students meet an arbitrary minimum standard. However, if a school has some kids that for whatever reason are not meeting that standard, then the school is placed on a kind of probation, then it's taken over.

During the probation phase a school has 2 years itself. What happens in those 2 years, the only focus of the teachers is getting all of the kids to the minimum level to pass. The grades given to a school are based solely on the minimum level of passing. The kids that are already at minimum level become ignored and are left behind. The testing doesn't show it, but the way that NCLB is set up it prevents gifted children from reaching their potential. If a 1st grader can read at a 3rd grade level, there is no need for the teacher to push him to read at a 5th grade level, instead he will be ignored and bored.

The start of this year seems to have done this to Jonas. The teacher is clearly spending much more time with the children that are behind where they need to be. Jonas doesn't need constant supervision to be pushed, but expecting only beginning 1st grade work from him without explaining to him that he has higher standards that he needs to reach, only leaves him to be bored and aim no higher than the expectations being set.

If you have a child in this situation yourself, make sure you take the time at home to clearly set higher expectations, reward them for meeting your expectations that are above the schools, and be disappointed when they are not met. Gifted children need to be challenged or they will stop growing.