After talking about the background of policy, and why this particular policy was needed at the time and what problems it was trying to solve, it is now time to talk about the actual policy of No Child Left Behind. The main point of No Child Left Behind was to level the playing field in every public school in the United States who were disadvantaged, including: students in poverty, minorities, students who were receiving special educational services, and those who spoke little no English (retrieved from https://www. understood. rg/en/school-learning/your-childs-rights/basics-about-childs-rights/no-child-left-behind-nclb-what-you-need-to-know).
Based on this description, we can see that No Child Left Behind, was created to help those who ad major disadvantages in school or due to other circumstances and help bring them to the same level as other students within their age range or grade level. This is important because the United States is supposed to be the land of opportunity, and education is supposed to be available to everyone, but this becomes a problem when certain students seem to be mistreated or are not being treated unfairly due to certain circumstances.
As stated, the policy was created to help those who had certain disadvantages such as special needs or spoke little to no English. These types of students constantly struggle with normal work in school, and due to their situations, might struggle to complete classwork, and might fall behind. The act was targeted at these students and give them a helping hand, when little to no one would give them a second chance or help them in their time of need.
Another purpose of No Child Left Behind, was to keep schools accountable for the education that they provided to the students. They would try to accomplish this by having annual testing in subjects such as math, and reading to see their progress over the course of the school year, and schools would face severe penalties for schools that did not meet the goal that they had set for themselves (retrieved from https://www. understood. org/en/school-learning/your-childs-rights/basics-about-childs-rights/no-child-left-behind-nclb-what-you-need-to-know).
By having a set of standards that the schools had to keep and having a penalty for schools that did not meet their goal, it sets a parameter that should put a focus on the quality of the education of the child, to make sure they are receiving a quality education. Going back to the penalty section of the policy, this was a good thing to have, when writing the policy. By having a penalty you out a consequence for the schools for not providing a good quality education to the students.
If a school did not meet its target goal on their progress reports, students could have the option to change schools if they wished, leadership of the schools could change, or the schools could close down entirely (retrieved from https://www. understood. org/en/school-learning/your-childs-rights/basics-about-childs-rights/no-child-left-behind-nclb-what-you-need-to-know). This is important to know because it showed how seriously people were taking about the value of a child’s education and that the schools should face some form of consequences for not providing that quality education.
The policy is also important because when a children around the country do poorly in school, people start to question why, who or what is to blame, and what can be done to fix this issue. The policy of No Child Left Behind was an attempt to remedy the rising concern on our children’s education and our failing education institutions. By putting more pressure on the school administrators and teachers to provide a better education, and by putting harsh penalties on the schools that failed to hit the mark, many felt that the policy would alleviate many of the problems of the past few years.
People had felt that by putting the administrator’s jobs on the line that this might bring in a new era of quality education for all students across the country. Now that we have talked about the purpose of No Child Left Behind, we should look up at how it was created in the first place. The policy was created by a group of people known as official actors. Official actors are according to Birkland (2016), are participants in the policy making process whose involvement is motivated or mandated by his/her official position in government, these people can include the President, people in Congress, the Courts, and etc.
This definition seems to say that an official actor is the ones that hold some sort of position in government, and has the power to create policy. This then begs the question, who were the official actors who were behind the No Child Left Behind policy? The official actors behind the policy was President George W. Bush, who was the one who came up with the policy in the first place, and was co-sponsored by House Speaker John Boehner, George Miller and Senators Ted Kennedy, and Judd Gregg. Retrieved from https://www2. ed. gov/nclb/overview/intro/guide/guide_pg12. html).
From this we can see that the policy had bipartisanship wish is rare for the government. Usually, both parties tend to argue about how to create a policy, and would try to have the policy lean more in their favor over the other party. When this policy was being created, it seems like both parties knew of the severity of the country’s failing school system and decided to come together and form a policy that would be beneficial to all.
When the bill came to a vote in 2001, it was met with shocking approval numbers not only in both houses of Congress, but in numbers by both parties. The final vote on the bill was 381-41 in the House of Representatives, and 87-10 in the Senate (retrieved from https://www2. ed. gov/nclb/overview/intro/guide/guide_pg12. html). This type of vote by both Democrats and Republicans show that they can come together and work to fix an issue and do not always argue on certain policies.
This was also a big deal because both parties do not often get along with each other, and will often argue about policies like education should be written and impleemtned, so that the policy can favor them more and make them look better in the people’s eyes, because it was them who fixed the issue, not the other party. By having this unity and cooperation by both parties it showed that they could come together and focus on the future of this country and put their rivalry with each other on hold and come together to make a policy that works for all American children.
There is a big reason to help these children who are either disadvantaged or ones that go to these poorly rated schools. The reason being that a study showed that children who were disadvantaged had difficulty with cognitive development, acquiring adequate vocabulary, and had a greater difficulty in reading than other students in the same age range (Thomas and Bainbridge: 2002, 782). This is a big deal because many feel that if a child doesn’t get a good quality education during their early years, it can lead to much more difficult issues later in life.
As mentioned, children who were disadvantaged due to their schools had difficulties in areas such as having a bad vocabulary and difficulty in reading. These two areas are important to look at because both are important to a child’s growth and if they are having a tough time in one or both areas they can fall way behind their other classmates mainly because they don’t understand many of the words of the textbooks and can be overwhelmed and confused on the material.
We as a society put a large amount of money, time, energy, and importance in our children’s education, and we try to find answers when see the school system is failing our children. The No Child Left Behind policy, was an attempt to fix these issues, and make sure that every child in this country received the best education possible regardless of status, race, mental capabilities, etc. and that they were all treated fairly and equally.