Problem Solving Essay
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This 6 page Class Notes was uploaded by Matthew Vickers on Thursday April 7, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to at Auburn University taught by in Summer 2015. Since its upload, it has received 19 views.
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Date Created: 04/07/16
Matthew Vickers Dr. Carrie Spell English 1127 13 April 2016 The Children Left Behind by No Child Left Behind “When it comes to the education of our children, failure is not an option.” These are words spoken by President George W. Bush when he was pushing for federal involvement in schools. I’m sure most of us would agree with that sentiment. Education is, after all, one of the most important things in shaping a child’s future. Every generation has been smarter than the last at an exponential rate, so unsurprisingly the children need a better education than ever before. This new innovated evolution came in the form of the No Child Left Behind Act, ensuring every student would receive the same quality education since 2001. Unfortunately this next step in knowledge wasn’t a productive as many thought it would be, and after 14 years causing problems and being steeped in controversy, it was labeled a failure. The No Child Left Behind Act may have been replaced by Every Student Succeeds Act, but the new act is just as protested as the last. Even when it’s gone this act still damages our school system. One of the main concerns is that rural schools are at an obvious disadvantage to receiving this quality education. It’s a sad thought that in America, land of opportunity, many students receive a subpar education solely based on where they go to school. It’s impossible for anyone to get where they plan to go in life, without first taking the proper steps. For most of us, those steps involve getting the right education to perform our desired job. For whatever path you chose in life, there was a time where you struggled, we all did, and I’m sure most of us got mad, cursed and demanded why what we were learning was important and who decided that it was. Well a majority of the time it’s actually the government, 2 especially for those last few steps before you get to choose said path. I’m talking about high school, the final stop before whatever destination we choose. If you knew what you wanted to do, or at least had a general idea, you could use these four years to help prepare yourself. Except now many schools are forced to see this as a luxury to accomplish the goals forced upon them. Many students fail to ever achieve their dreams because of this improper preparation period, while many didn’t have the freedom or ability to even discover what they wanted. This all goes back to the No Child Left Behind Act. The No Child Left Behind Act has damaged the education of countless children, especially ones in rural schools. While No Child Left Behind has been replaced, it still has lasting effects that continue to harm students. There are many temporary changes that must be made while everyone involved in the educational process is coming together to decide what is best for providing a quality education. When you mention No Child Left Behind, everyone’s first thought is the standardized testing, but there was more to the act than the seemingly endless tests. From students to teachers to parents, most people hated the act without fully understanding what, why, and how things were now being done. While it had a wide variety of new regulations to improve education, most researchers agree the true goal of the act was to close the educational gap between students in rural and urban locations and between students of different ethnicities. Other important aspects of the act was the decision to make the states responsible for schools meeting the requirements assigned to them and the novel idea that students should be taught the same information regardless of location. The idea is simple enough that you wondered why it took this long to decide to do, but when they tried to enact it problems surfaced. These problems stemmed from 3 rural schools not getting the attention they needed to achieve the improvements asked of them (McLaughlin, Margret J., et 3233). I’ve made the claim that rural schools are being severely damaged by the No Child Left Behind Act, but what exactly qualifies as a rural school? Well it’s considered a rural school if it’s located in a city with a population under 2500 people. These small towns logically have a small population of students attending. The average rural school was found to have 400 students with only two schools in each district. That may not sound that small but these numbers are blown away by the results from urban schools, with 100s of schools in a district with roughly 634 students per school. Schools are funded based on the number of students attending, this decision made sense more students meant more teachers and equipment, so the schools needed more money. When No Child is added into the mix, that plan no longer makes sense. These smaller schools are held to the same standards, while having a fraction of the budget, and it shows. This means those urban schools with a drastically higher student rate, receive drastically more money to meet government standards. On top of that, studies have shown the average rural area has a higher poverty percent than more urban areas. This higher percent leads to a smaller local tax base, so even less money for these financially struggling schools. Even when No Child Left Behind tries to help they just make things worse. It made it so teachers now have to have special qualifications to be allowed to teach, this decision shrinks the pool of possible employees. This wouldn’t have been a problem in urban areas, but was devastating to rural schools. These schools were already struggling to find teachers, as the low budgets only allowed them to pay an average of 17% less. Just pause a moment and imagine you were offered a job with less of a budget to work with, the people you’re working with are more difficult, every year the government is 4 going to tell you you’re a failure at your job, also possibly taking away part of your paycheck, regardless of how hard you’re trying, and to top it all off you’re losing 1/5 of your paycheck as soon as you say yes. Surprisingly these rural schools don’t have to beat applicants off with a stick. No matter the desire one has to go to these schools to help the more struggling kids, no employee will realistically decide to stay. What happens when these concerns are raised though? Well they get brushed off under the assumption that rural schools are just a starch minority, so the extra effort isn’t justified to help so few. Only 25%30% of students go to these rural schools, so not that many schools are suffering, except 49% of all schools in the U.S. are deemed rural. Almost half the schools in the country are having these financial problems that no one seems to care about. Over 13,000 schools filled with employees and no one seems to even acknowledge their existence. Something new must be done to counteract this financial problem, even their attempts to correct lead to them causing more problems. The government decided to come up with a solution: consolidation. Consolidation is the goto theory on how to fix financial problems with rural schools, and consists of closing down these small schools and combining them into one large school. Analysists have shown how this plan fails to solve the financial problems, but the government, unwilling or unable to find a new solution, keeps going back to the same well. A majority of these consolidation plans actually end up with the combined schools still being too isolated to receive enough tax revenue to pay for school necessities. Not to mention it’s been shown parents choose to move their children to closer private schools, over the new larger school. Transferring students takes money from public schools, making them even worse than before the consolidation. A small town called Paint Rock has been trying to consolidate for years, but no other town will accept them because of the distance. They’ve had several other 5 ideas to fund these rural schools, but each have their own flaws. Until a new funding plan can be designed that provides a realistic ratio of what the larger schools can afford at a smaller size is made a more simplistic temporary solution is required. It could be as simple as increasing the price the school is given per student head for schools considered rural. Small schools will receive more money per student to help close the financial gap between the various school sizes. Education has always had a reputation for being somewhat lacking in many rural areas. This has many possible causes, such has budget restrictions previously mentioned, but many people refuse to look past these possible problems with unrealistic optimism, or a plain lack of caring when it comes to observing problems. Just saying every student can be taught the same material and can achieve the same goal is an extremely simplistic view of a complex problem with too many factors not taken into account. Last Spring the town of Paint Rock held its graduation. The graduating class received their diplomas from both of their teachers, and after those 5 graduates left, only 7 students remained in their K12 program. By this act’s logic these graduates should have had the opportunity to learn the same material as any other student, regardless of school size or location. This is the problem with comparing two different random schools on a map. You can’t take everything into account. Essentially schools lacking the funds for the right books, learning materials, and even quality teachers are now expected to academically go toetotoe with the best public schools in the nation. The only surprising thing about that outcome was that people thought they would be equal to begin with. Another example of just how offputting some of the results are, is the report from Congressman John Kline. Kline has close to 200 schools within his district in Minnesota, and has stated almost every single one is about to labeled a failure by the act. That is an astonishingly large percent to the point it seems 6 more likely the criteria for failure seems skewed. They have actually tried to fix this problem with the Every Student Succeeds Act. Right now up to seven states will be allowed to experiment using local tests on their students. If more local tests are performed, the difficulty will be closer to whatever region it is being given in. So if a state with mostly rural schools gets permission, the test will be more acceptable to students who haven’t received the same quality education as more urban schools. This may be a solution, but it makes the test, and its purpose, irrelevant. The purpose was to test that everyone was learning the same thing, but if these seven states are taking unique tests, there’s no basis of comparison. The best way to solve this problem would be to change how the scores are scaled. Some type of averaging of various scores could be used to find out how much the test scores differ. This difference could then be used to scale the more rural, disadvantaged schools into actually having a chance when compared to urban schools. The scale will be altered as the rural schools continue to improve and the gap size changes. Better yet, only compare scores based on different regions, or other factors. Of course Paint Rock would be a failure compared to some New York schools, but comparing Paint Rock to a school from Kline’s district may have a completely different story. Nothing in life is ever an exact onetoone accurate comparison, so these differences do matter, they do need to be noticed, and they do need considered factors if the accountability plan is ever going to commence.
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