(1) Does No Child Left Behind (NCLB) a federal law enacted in 2001, in effect leave some students behind. (2) Do federal and state mandates that proceed from the law NCLB force administrators to hold back students, and how do these students fare as they continue with their education.
While researching the various aspects of NCLB, a 2001 Federal Law and mandate enacted during the George w. Bush administration, one encounters several case studies that reflect negative implications to this law. A new study by researchers a Rice University and the University of Texas-Austin finds that Texas’ public school model for NCLB directly contributes to lower graduation rates.
Each year Texas public schools lose 135,000.00 youth prior to graduation, a disproportionate number of who are Afro-American, Latino and English –as-a—second-language (ESL) students. By analyzing data from more than 271,000.00 students the study found that 60% of the Afro-American students, 75% of Latino students and 805 of ESL students did not graduate within five years. The researchers found an overall graduation rate of only 33%. “High stakes, test-based accountability doesn’t lead to school. Improvement or equitable educational possibilities,” said Linda McSpadden McNeil, director for the Center for Education at Rice University. “It leads to avoidable losses of students. Inherently the system creates a dilemma for principles: comply or educate. Unfortunately we found that compliance means losing students.” McSpadden (2008).
Summary of Methods
By analyzing data from more than 271,000.00 students the study found that 60% of the Afro-American students, 75% of Latino students and 805 of ESL students did not graduate from secondary school within five years. The researchers found an overall graduation rate of only 33%.
This study which was aimed at the students populations of disadvantaged socio-economic groups was conducted by researchers at Rice University and the University of Texas at Austin. Since data gathered over several years of researching was completed there was no formal setting for this study.
Administrators and teachers in public secondary schools are required by State and Federal law to comply with achieving mandatory levels on student standardized test scores in the following core subject area: English/Language Arts, Mathematics and Science. In the attempt to meet these test score levels, an administrator can hold back a grade level groups of lower achieving students. This would in effect increase the AYP test score averages thus meeting the federal mandated AYP levels satisfying NCLB. The majority of students that occupy the lower level disadvantaged socio-economic group are comprised of 60% Afro=American, 73% Latino and 805 ESL. Reportedly these groups of students did not graduate from secondary school within five years. McSpadden (2008).
Effectiveness Data – The results showed that there was only a 33% graduation rate from the Texas secondary school system.
Efficiency Data – none reported
Reliability Data – Researchers noted that students from low socio economic and disadvantaged backgrounds who were held back a school year in order to help the school achieve the mandated AYP scores, were found to have not graduated after 5 years at the school.
Social Validity – The results from these studies indicate the exact opposite of what part of the aim of NCLB is, and that is to level the playing field in education by providing an equal opportunity environment for disadvantaged students.
From a Christian point of view, the concept to comply with the law or to educate our students is totally unacceptable. The Christian professional educator who gained their authentication directly from God will work religiously to find a way to both comply with the law and standards set by NCLB and the task of educating their students. Without question the Christian educator feels their calling directly from God and in all cases calling proceeds vocation. Therefore with Biblical principle fully in place the ethical decisions become much easier to make. “Christian Leaders are careful to give matters careful consideration and then are willing to re-evaluate their decisions” (Proverbs 21). There is no longer a decision to comply or educate but only the reality of how to educate within the context of obeying the NCLB law. McSpadden (2008).
McSpadden, Linda (2008), Negative Implications of NCLB.
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/02/080214080530.htm. Retrieved from the Internet, 11-11-10.
Dr. Christopher Chandler | Alpha University