Every Child Left Behind

Posted on Tue 07/14/2009 by

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I was a child of the 80’s. I began Kindergarten in 1983. I was excited because I had to take a test just to begin school – counting pennies up to ten, writing my own first and last name. I passed with flying colors and was assigned to a teacher. I those days, kids were divided into classes based on abilities. There were four groups for each grade level, usually labeled with A, B, C, and D. The advanced students were placed in group A, the above average kids in group B, and so on. The children needing extra help were placed in group D, and special needs kids were placed into the special education classroom. The curriculum was adjusted for each group’s general abilities.

I had always been in the A group. In 5th grade, I stopped doing my homework. No particular reason for that, I guess I was just bored, maybe being a bit of a rebel. I made it through most of the school year without doing more than a couple pages of homework. Sure, I got in trouble, but I was an “advanced” kid so I didn’t get in too much trouble. Besides, I wasn’t disrupting class, I just wasn’t doing work after school hours. During the class trip, I was not allowed to go because I hadn’t done enough assignments. I was forced to stay in the 3rd grade classroom (Egad!). Even that didn’t work. One day, I was told to get all my books and follow a teacher out. In the hallway, I was told that my grades had slipped so far that I was being moved into B group. I about died! From that day on, I always did my homework, right up until the end of my senior year.

Along comes “No Child Left Behind,” the brainchild of the Clintons in the 90’s and signed into law by George W. Bush in 2001. The Act requires, in a nutshell, public schools to make accommodations for all students, especially “limited English proficient children and migratory children,” among others.  (Get the full text in PDF.) It also sets up the funding for the public schools based on the NCLB score, which is acquired through yearly “standardized testing,” and calls for the integration of special needs children into regular classrooms.

Sounds like a good thing, right? Well not exactly. When I was in school, we took the California Achievement Test (CAT), a nationally normalized test. At some point, Pennsylvania came out with it’s own standardized test, the PSSA. The problem with the PSSA is that it is not nationally normed. This hinders the results because they are not comparable to other states’ testing required by the NCLB. Funding is based on the NCLB scores, so areas with higher concentrations of illegal aliens migratory families will have lower scores, as will areas where there are more needy children with Individual Education Plans (IEP).

Take Hazleton Area School District, for example. The high school is in it’s second year of “corrective action.” This means that the high school has not been meeting the state goal of 56% of the tested students reaching the “proficient” level (only getting 28%). In fact, 31% tested “below basic” and another 18% were “basic.” Hazleton is so overrun with illegal aliens that every year, the school board comes up with some cockamamey scheme to “reduce overcrowding.” Once it was reopening the old “Castle” for elementary students and giving their building to ninth graders. That is still in effect, yet the overcrowding problem still exists. Those same illegal aliens cannot comprehend the basics of English, nor can they score well on the PSSA. In the meantime, the American children are being put on the back burner while the teachers are busy catering to the students who score the worst. It all comes down to the Almighty Dollar.

Then there’s that pesky Constitution that gives the rights of education to the states and not the federal government, but who’s counting?

There is so much wrong with the education system today that it’s hard to even sit here and list everything. The bottom line is that our children are being dumbed down. Whether it’s intentional or not remains to be seen, but I’d have to say that it likely is exactly what was wanted – a nation full of mind slaves who do as they’re told. There’s a reason teachers and their unions hate homeschoolers, and that’s because homeschooled students actually LEARN.

In the public schools, every child is left behind.