Parents Demand Dumbed-Down Tests --- An Unintended Bad Consequence Of The No Child Left Behind ActWritten by Joel Turtel
The No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 is making problem of cheating, low academic standards, and public schools lying to parents, even worse. Under this Act, Department of Education now requires students to pass standardized tests. Failing schools will lose federal funding and other perks if their students consistently turn in a bad performance on these tests.
Holding schools and teachers accountable, and expecting students to demonstrate what theyíve learned, sounds like a good idea. But this Act means that badly-taught students, victims of dumbed-down texts and bad teaching methods like new math and whole-language instruction, now have to pass difficult standardized tests they are not ready for.
As a result, millions of students may fail these tests, not because they are dumb, but because schools never taught them to read properly or solve a math problem without a calculator. Millions of high school students with low reading and math skills now risk not graduating from high school until they pass these tests.
It is important that parents know unvarnished truth about their childrenís real academic abilities, but many parents are now frantic because they see their childrenís failing grades on these new tests. As a result, they complain to school boards that they do not want their children taking these tests or not graduating from high school because of low test scores. To protect their children, many parents are now demanding dumbed-down tests to make sure that their kids graduate from high school and go to college.
The No Child Left Behind Act is now forcing many parents to condone schools that dumb-down their tests and standards, instead of blaming these schools for their childrenís failure to learn. This is a typical unintended consequence of more government laws that try to fix problems that a government-controlled school system created in first place.
State lawmakers in New York, Wisconsin, Massachusetts, and other states have yielded to parent pressure. They have scrapped or watered-down high-stakes graduation tests that proved too tough even for students in so-called better schools in suburbs.
Drugs And Violence In Public SchoolsWritten by Joel Turtel
Many public schools not only fail to educate our children, they can also be dangerous places. These schools are a natural breeding ground for drugs and violence. Children are packed into classrooms with twenty or more other immature children or teenagers, all same age. Here, peer pressure becomes socialization, pushing many children into using drugs and alcohol.
Put twenty teenagers in same room, or hundreds of teenagers in same school, and you have a breeding ground for violence. Young boys and girls have raging hormones and budding sexuality, and male teenage testosterone levels are high. Teenagers are in half-child, half-adult stage of life and often lack judgment and are emotionally immature.
Pack these teenagers together into cramped little classrooms, six to eight hours a day, and you have a mixture that can lead to trouble. Itís inevitable that violence will break outóitís built into system.
Also, even most conscientious teacher is usually too busy and overworked to give children individual attention they need. Critics of home-schooling often say that home-schoolers donít get proper socialization. However, so-called socialization in public schools is often cruel and violent. Bullying, peer pressure, racial cliques, sexual tensions, and competition for teacherís approval all create a stressful, sometimes violent environment.
Compulsory-attendance laws also contribute to violence in schools. In most states, these laws force children to stay in school until they are sixteen years old or graduate high school. Teenagers who hate school, or are aggressive or potentially violent sociopaths, canít leave. As a result, they often take out their hatred and aggression on other students. Those children want to learn are forced to endure bullying and violence by these troubled teens.
Also, law is on side of violent or disruptive students who are classified as ďdisabled.Ē In 1975, Congress passed Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). Based on this legislation, in 1988 Supreme Court ruled that schools could not remove disruptive disabled children from classrooms without a parentís consent. If parents donít consent, teachers are out of luck. Those Ďdisabledí children who are socially impaired, canít get along with other kids, or sometimes turn violent, therefore fall under this category. Of course, this adds yet another layer of potentially violent children who teachers canít remove from class.