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Rethinking the No Child Left Behind Act

Rethinking the No Child Left Behind Act

The No Child Left Behind act was signed into law by President George W. Bush in 2002. The law relies on measurement of student achievement through standardized testing, and intends to hold schools accountable for failure of the students to make progress.

In a recent gallup poll from February 7, 2011, most Americans were in favor (41%) of keeping the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) act with major revisions. 16% wanted to eliminate the law, and 21% wanted to keep the NCLB as it is. Under President Obama, changes are being suggested to revise the NCLB in determining criteria for judging schools as to whether they are making progress or failing with their students.

In a recent article I read by Jim Trelease, author of The Read-Aloud Handbook, he discusses the No Child Left Behind act which he says that the act “ensures that children who are behind in reading are entitled to after-school tutuoring and extra help with phonics. Nice. But giving phonics lessons to kids who don’t have any print in their lives is like giving oars to people who don’t have a boat – you won’t get very far.”

Trelease goes on to quote L.M. Morrow, a Professor from Rutgers University, who believes stongly that “kindergartners with the highest interest in books were the ones with the most print in their homes.”

One principal of an elementary school put the blame on parents who he felt should take the time to teach their children at home with regard to reading and writing skills. He said that most parents find the time to take their children to soccer games, little league practice or ballet lessons, but did not find 20 minutes of week of quality time to read with their children and teach them important skills.

Do you feel that schools often see their job as teaching kids the mechanics of reading but not the love of reading? I can see the influence I have had on my own children, whose homes today are filled with books. My grandchildren are taken regularly to the bookstore or library. Their rooms are filled with books and bookshelfs. Reading is not just something they do because they have to, but because they want to.

Where do you stand on the role of parents with regard to teaching reading in the home?

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