Although the thinking behind "No Child Left Behind" appears to be sound, most states were developing their own standards of learning before this legislation came on the scene. I strongly support standards and doing whatever it takes to help children learn. However, when a public school is scoring well above passing, e.g. over 90%, there is often NOT the expected growth as required by law, which puts this school at risk of not receiving passing grades when evaluated --- this school may be scoring well over 90% in all areas, yet it may receive a "failing" rating. I believe it is important to recognize that this legislation applies only to public schools --- not to private or church related programs.
In today's world, schools are facing changing demographics. Educators are faced with teaching and getting "all" students to pass the standards tests, regardless of one's special education label. The problem is compounded with our increasing cultural diversity; schools across the United States must have children take the exam even if they have lived in the U.S. for only a short period of time and who speak languages other than English.
Once testing is done, an evaluation of all categories is made. These include various ethnic categories, as well as those receiving free/reduced lunches, special education, or English for Language Learners. Commonly, individual children fall into and are evaluated in several categories. This alone can have a significant negative impact on schools. The most impact is felt at the middle school level, since most elementary schools do not have the required 50 student minimum in order to assess a category.
NCLB, or No Child Left Behind is a great starting point for educational standards in the United States. It basically requires students to pass exams at the end of every grade level before moving onto the next grade.
It may or may not make the job of an educator more difficult; it depends on the school, demographic, and level of students. If you teach in an area where the students are consistently below grade level and struggle to pass the exams, it can pose problems. Learning centers such as Sylvan team up with school districts who pay them for after school tutoring to get students up to par on passing their star exams.
The name is accurate in my opinion, because it requires us not to leave any child behind in the educational arena. Whether it's truly successful or not will take a few years to assess.
I'm including an Education.com article explaining the goals of NCLB
Here are some related thoughts from a teacher who commented on the article, "Mastering Second Grade Math" (linked below)...
"I am a second grade teacher and I appreciate parents getting involved in the education of their children. There have been too many times that I have had to beg parents to help their child at home. I'll be the first to admit that I can't do it all. There are parents who lack patience and skill to help their children and it can result in ill feelings toward learning math, reading, ....whatever! I believe it takes the parent and the teacher to ensure success for our children. I am having an issue with the idea that teacher is responsible for what has to be taught and how much time is being spent to teach concepts. Teachers follow the rules! They are told what has to be taught and for how long as dictated by the local school district. The local school district is mandated by the state. The state standards are tested every year and children are expected to perform. When they don't everybody looks back at the teacher. Children are expected to know more and do more. I don't recall anyone asking me what I thought about it! So, parents have to understand that school is not what it used to be and it's going to take everybody to get it done - or home schooling is an option."