No Child Left Behind.
It’s a misnomer if you ask me. In my six years of teaching experience, I don’t think it’s being utilized in the intended manor. Again, the name maybe?
It seems the intention was that no child be left behind his peers in school. Meaning, that if a child is falling behind, he or she would get extra help; tutoring, one on one time with a teacher or para-pro, modified instruction, different ways of testing, etc.
But, the problem? And, yes it is a problem.
No Child Left Behind is completely misunderstood and utilized. It is seen as children aren’t allowed to be left behind in a grade level or a class, so they are pushed ahead. Despite their lack of understanding and learning. Despite them not learning the standards that is required of them. Despite them not passing classes, courses of even state tests (and don’t get me started on state tests versus nationalized tests and standards). And, this isn’t just at certain levels. It spans from kindergarten all the way to high school. Yes, even high school when these kids are about to go to college.
And, here’s where I’m going to say it, and it might make you mad, but it’s true. Statistically speaking, 100% of pretty much anything is impossible. So, what does that mean to me? Not every single kid is going to pass every single test/standard/grade on the first shot. There are kids that need a second shot. There are kids that should be “left behind” (in the wrong sense of this “No Child Left Behind.”) Kids that need a second shot at a class. Another year of maturing.
Instead of pushing these kids ahead, we’ve got to figure out why they are having issues. Let’s really sit down with them, with their parents, with all of their teachers and counselors and psychologists and get to the bottom of it. All kids can learn, but they learn in different ways and we have to remember this.
Case in point. A friend posted this on her facebook wall. I know it’s long, but I think it really solidifies my argument.:
“I just got back from another meeting at A’s school. They have tested and observed him for over a month. The results are that he is dyslexic & possibly ADD. Y’all have no idea how relieved I am right now. At least now we know whats going on & ever since pre-K, school has been such a battle. Now I know WHY!!!
“Ever since he started Pre-K school has been a struggle! He never wanted to go, he was always in a bad mood, total lack of self confidence. Learning his letters was a major struggle. I talked to his pre-k teacher about holding him back since he was one of the younger kids and didn’t have to start Kindergarten the next year. She said not to worry that he’d catch up.
“Same thing happened in Kindergarten. Writing was a struggle, sight words, spelling, everything was a huge fight. He was failing at them. AGAIN I suggested maybe he wasnt ready, maybe hold him back? AGAIN I get the ‘he’ll catch up next year’ speech.
“On to 1st grade. The kid was miserable. Constantly in trouble for not paying attention, drawling all the time, hardly doing his work, failing spelling test after spelling test. The teacher would nag at me implying that I wasnt making him read at home etc. Self confidence at this point was at a 0. I tell her if we’re going to hold him back. Let’s do it now since we are moving states and everything. I get the same run around.
“This time, I talked to his new 2nd grade teacher on the 1st day of school, scheduled a meeting and addressed all my concerns. The first few weeks he was treated like all other students. Expected to read and follow the directions on the worksheets. He was already failing. He would just give up and doodle on his pages b/c he couldn’t connect what the words were to what he should do.
“The teacher started giving him his spelling tests verbally and BAM! He was getting 100%’s every time. You ask him something, he knows it! You tell him to transfer those thoughts onto paper, you’ve lost him.
“All along I KNEW something was up, but no one would help me. Now I can completely understand why he would behave the way he did. He was depressed. A 5 yr old depressed. How sad is that?! it also would cause him to act out. Ever since we moved him to this school, he’s happy, really happy. When he does get into trouble at school now, he is genuinely remorseful.”
Hallelujah! A teacher that gets it. But, how sad it is that it took until 2nd grade for a child to get the help he needs, the diagnosis he needs and to feel confident in himself? I really truly believe issues like this are coming up more and more because teacher and administrators are misinterpreting “No Child Left Behind.” They are afraid of losing their jobs. They are afraid of their “failure rates.” They are afraid of how a school will look.
But, what’s really the bottom line? The success of our kids. They are the ones that matter. They are our future. We have to remember them. We have to invest in them. We have to nurture them and their learning.