Mention the No Child Left Behind policy in any American public school, and the reactions and opinions will undoubtedly be complicated and strongly felt. Passed in 2002 by former US President George W. Bush, the No Child Left Behind law (NCLB) was an effort of both majority parties, business groups, and other activists to increase America’s competitiveness in the global market and standardize learning across the country. While it could be argued that this act was signed with only the best of intentions, as time has passed, the true consequences and controversies that have arisen have caused countless problems throughout the country.
When mentioning NCLB, the first thing that usually comes to mind is standardized testing, and that would not be an incorrect first thought. In an attempt to close the gap between achievement levels in differing schools (minorities, low income, inner-city, etc.), NCLB instituted testing and achievement standards across the board for these schools with the threat of pulling federal funding if the schools do not meet these requirements.
This has since created a trend in classrooms across the country of “teaching to the test.” Teachers, feeling frustrated that their performance, salary, and evaluations are based solely on how well their students perform on the standardized tests, have begun to teach solely what will be on the tests. Not only does this limit what can be done in a classroom, such as a lack of project-based learning, enrichment lessons like music and art, or team-building lessons, but it also creates a nearly unbearable atmosphere for the teachers and administrators.