No Child Left Behind (NCLB) has shattered our education system by forcing standardized testing and an elusive idea of “adequate yearly progress;” however, we may finally have some freedom from the tight grasp of this ill-advised legislation. In the education world, there has been a lot of talk recently about reforming the 50-year-old law that was reauthorized in a new, bipartisan manner in a comradely frenzy (caused partially by the attacks on the World Trade Center) under President Bush in 2002.
NCLB is the reason that we were tested every year through grade school, the reason that our teachers taught to the test, the reason we sat in a seat all day long. When President Obama (D) took office, he helped states by giving them “waivers,” or a way out of strictly following NCLB’s stifling requirements; instead, states would be held accountable for producing college- and career-ready students, which lead to the common core standards that most teachers seem to dread.
In the last 13 years, there have been several attempts like this to provide relief from NCLB, but none have been extremely successful. When I heard news that our Secretary of Education, Arne Duncan, had announced his desire to reform NCLB and the following agreement and plans from other prominent members of the education community, I was excited and thought that something might actually change. However, Obama then gave his State of the Union Address, in which I was expecting at least a small plug for NCLB reform, and I was disappointed to hear him announce that his two main points on education had nothing to do with reforming any laws.
While there has been a lot of talk about reforming NCLB, that seems to be all it is. Everyone has ideas, and everyone is throwing them out. Politicians seem to all be in agreement that our education system needs reformed, but still hold conflicting views on just how this should happen. There are rumors that a plan will be placed on Obama’s desk before the summer of 2015, but I have little faith that this will actually happen.