The Instigator
beem0r
Pro (for)
Winning
24 Points
The Contender
I-am-a-panda
Con (against)
Losing
9 Points

Resolved: An ideal form of No Child Left Behind would be beneficial to the welfare of the USA

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 3/17/2009 Category: Education
Updated: 8 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 1,639 times Debate No: 7430
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (8)
Votes (5)

 

beem0r

Pro

I stand in affirmation of the resolution: an ideal form of No Child Left Behind (hereafter referred to as NCLB) would be beneficial to the welfare of the United States.

====
DEFINITIONS
====
D1: Ideal
a] Most suitable; perfect. [1]
b] Desirable or perfect but existing only in the imagination. [1]

D2: Form of NCLB
A form of NCLB will be defined as having at least the same goals as NCLB and at least some of the means NCLB attempts to use to reach its goals.

Goal of NCLB:
Ga] To improve individual outcomes in education. [2]
Gb] To obtain an education system that will cater to the needs of more students.

Means of NCLB:
Ma] Setting high standards and establishing measurable goals. [2]
Mb] Emphasis on standardized testing. [2]
Mc] Increased ability for parents to switch their children to different schools. [2]

D3: Welfare
Health, happiness, and fortune. [3]

[1] Oxford Dictionary - Definition of ideal: http://www.askoxford.com...
[2] Wikipedia - No Child Left Behind Act: http://en.wikipedia.org...
[3] http://www.askoxford.com...

====
OBSERVATIONS
====
O1: Problems with NCLB should be ignored.
There are many purported problems with NCLB. For instance, many claim that it allows states and schools to 'game' the system, making it seem that they are doing a better job of ecucating their students when in reality they are not. Such problems should not be considered in this debate. An "ideal" form of NCLB would not include these problems, or it would contain provisions to eliminate these problems. CON may, however, argue that a specific problem is _impossible_ to avoid while still being considered a form of NCLB - such a problem is not covered under this observation.

O2: CON may argue that the effect on the welfare of the US would be either negative OR zero.
Since both those positions can negate the resolution.

====
CONTENTIONS
====
C1: A system which increases education for all groups, not just the lower tier.
Such a system is possible because of D2Mc, the ability for parents to switch schools if their child's current school is not the best place for him/her. If a school is either failing to teach at a high enough level or teaching at too high of a level for a student, parents would be able to switch the student to a more suitable school.
This would certainly be a form of NCLB. Both intended goals of NCLB are met, and it relies on at least both D2Ma and D2Mc. Standardized testing (D2Mb) would also probably be used, although there would be provisions to stop teachers from 'teaching to the test.'

This system would certainly increase the welfare of the USA. First, since education is a fulfilling end in itself, people would be happier with themselves. Second, since the higher-tier students would be taught at a more aggressive rate, more people would be able to be doctors and able to successfully find cures and develop new drugs, increasing health. And certainly this would increase fortune as well, since students would be quite fortunate to be able to switch to the school that best suits their educational needs.

Therefore, this plan increases welfare on all three fronts - happiness, health, and fortune.

I look forward to an interesting debate, I wish my opponent good luck, and I thank the judges and audience for reading.
Also, I reserve the right to add more contentions in my second round.
I-am-a-panda

Con

I would like to thank beem0r for a formidable opening argument.

I will firstly give my points on why NCLB will have have no effect to welfare.

==CON ARGUMENT #1: STANDARDIZED TESTING IS NEGATIVE==

I understand the nature of NCLB is that standardized testing is used. I myself come from a country where standardized testing is also used. Obviously, for standardized testing to work, all students must study the same subjects on the same level. This is negative in two ways:

1) Because the level is the same for everyone, the exam is to cater for the average student. This simply does not push students of a higher intelligence to their best potential in testing. Vica versa with more unintelligent students. They are given a test they are likely to perform poorly in.

2) The nature of it is that students study the same subjects, Maths and English skills specifically in NCLB. However, this narrows the curriculum for students. If the school is pushed to get students to pass the test to keep them above water financially, then they will not focus on subjects such as History, Geography, Art, Etc., which can be as educational to a student as Maths or English.

Standardized testing creates a feeding trough effect. Students must do well in Maths, English and Science (in later years) and the school tries to aim for high marks in that. This abandons students in other areas, therefore giving them little or no option to study subjects they are more adept to. Education must feed to the needs of the individual student, not every student.

This negates my opponents point on Happiness.

==CON ARGUMENT #2: IT OVERPOPULATES AND UNDER POPULATES SCHOOLS==

Part of NCLB is to allow students to move from school to school easier, for the sole purpose of allowing brighter students up the chain of education. However, whereas parents are more than happy to allow their children to be educated to their best, it also means parents do not want their son moved down to the "dumb" school. This influx of students up to schools and stubbornness to move down makes the schools with the best scores to be overwhelmed, and the schools with the worst scores to be abandoned.

Now to negate my opponents argument:

==PRO:==
>>This system would certainly increase the welfare of the USA. First, since education is a fulfilling end in itself, people would be happier with themselves. Second, since the higher-tier students would be taught at a more aggressive rate, more people would be able to be doctors and able to successfully find cures and develop new drugs, increasing health. And certainly this would increase fortune as well, since students would be quite fortunate to be able to switch to the school that best suits their educational needs.<<

==REBUTTAL:==

His first point on increasing happiness has already been negated.

I find a flaw with his second point. He says students will be taught more aggressively. However:

1) Standardized testing is to cater on average, therefore not catering to those who are very intelligent.

2) A narrowed curriculum means education is lost elsewhere. The loss of subjects in the fields of History, Business and Woodwork (amongst others) balances any increase in Health. Whereas health is one field, multiple fields are excluded in this system.

An increase in Doctors and Scientists can be good, however, if the market were saturated with Doctors and Scientists, it becomes an undesirable job. It becomes under-paid, less appealable, and therefore lowering health.

As to the point on fortune, I addressed it with the overcrowding of schools.

I would like to thank my opponent again for the debate, as well as the Judges and readers. I reserve the right for further arguments.
Debate Round No. 1
beem0r

Pro

I would first like to point out two things.
First, my opponent seems to have, if only implicitly, agreed with my observations and definitions. He has, however, attacked my contentions and made his own points, so I will rebut those.
Second, I would like to once again stress that we are talking about an _IDEAL FORM_ of NCLB. On that note, I will now rebut my opponent's points.

====
REBUTTALS
====
R1: My opponent points out that 'the level is the same for everyone' and that standardized tests 'cater to average students only.' Only one of these is even true in the current, flawed form of NCLB, and the other is either not a problem or would not be present in an ideal form of NCLB.
First, "The level is the same for everyone." It's really not. For example, in eleventh grade, there were three levels of English that I could have taken - normal, honors, and "Advanced Placement." That's three levels, not one.
Further, is it even a problem to have exams the same for the same class? Let's look back at earlier grades, where state exams are much more common - let's say, 6th grade math. If the same text were given to all students in the sixth grade, then one could accurately determine their relative ability in math - but if the test were different for students who already seem to be smart, then the test scores could not accurately determine someone's relative ability to the other students.
But even if one standard level of testing is indeed a flaw, it is a simple one to amend - multiple levels of testing would be created. They would still be standardized across each level, but they would not be standardized with each other. Even so, at least in earlier grades, it is useful to have one test for everyone, since this can help determine course placement.

R2. My opponent claims that "students study the same subjects, specifically math and english" and that schools "will not focus on subjects such as History, Geography, Art, Etc., which can be as educational to a student as Maths or English."
This is not true. While it may be true that current NCLB legislation is aimed toward the two subjects, it affects classes of other disciplines as well, Science being notable as one.
But even if the focus is too specific, that is not a problem for an _ideal form_ of NCLB. Broadening the focus to include other disciplines would not be a large enough change for it not to be considered a form of NCLB, so an ideal form of NCLB might very well focus on all disciplines (assuming that applying to all disciplines rather than a few is in fact good).

It matters little, though. Schools that are skimping in other subject areas should be punished, and even under the current system, parents are be able to move their students to a better school (see D2Mc). This competition prevents schools from not performing well, and if it is not sufficient, the system could be modified so that it is even easier for parents to switch their kids to a different school.

R4. My opponent claims that NCLB is bad because it underpoulates and overpopulates schools. Ha...! Underpopulated schools, which would likely be schools which are not educating the students very well, deserve to fail - and this competition would make that happen. The overpopulation of good schools means that more good schools would have to be created to ease the burden. Luckily, there happen to be a bunch of failing schools whose carcasses can be improved upon greatly. This would of course require more good teachers and administrators, and a pay raise may be needed for these groups to accomplish this - a good end in itself.

Accepting failing schools as they are and letting them remain as they are is not the preferred action. Rather, improving of bad schools through competition and additional funding is superior, and that is something an ideal form of NCLB successfully does.

R5. My opponent contends that standardized testing inherently caters to the average rather than to those who are intelligent. This is not true, even in the current system. Studnets who are more intelligent should be placed in more advanced classes, which would have more advanced tests as a result. For instance, I myself took Algebra I in seventh grade and Geometry in 8th - even though that's two years ahead of most. I was not then given the same 7th/8th grade math exam as everyone else - I was given an Algebra I/Geometry exam instead.

R6. My opponent contends that a narrowed curriculum creates problems. However, I have already addressed the claims of a reduced curriculum - an ideal form of NCLB would include provisions to avoid this (punishment for schools that do it and competition due to parents being able to switch their students out if they're not being taught enough). Further, an ideal form of NCLB does not necessarily have to be focused only on math and english classes.

R7. My opponent contends that overcrowded schools creates problems, though I have already addressed that. If good schools are overcrowded, then more good schools will be created to deal with the problem - and they will be created from the schools that are failing. Further, overcrowded schools will be given more money (since funding is likely proportional to the amount of students taught), and if they also meet NCLB requirements, they will receive additional funding - combined, this will allow such successful schools to expand if necessary.

I have rebutted all my opponent's points, and thus I will now allow him to give his closing statements and defend any of his points before I do the same.

Until next round, I bid ye fare well.
I-am-a-panda

Con

I would like to thank beem0r for his response.

===PRO:===
>>First, "The level is the same for everyone." It's really not. For example, in eleventh grade, there were three levels of English that I could have taken - normal, honors, and "Advanced Placement." That's three levels, not one.
Further, is it even a problem to have exams the same for the same class? Let's look back at earlier grades, where state exams are much more common - let's say, 6th grade math. If the same text were given to all students in the sixth grade, then one could accurately determine their relative ability in math - but if the test were different for students who already seem to be smart, then the test scores could not accurately determine someone's relative ability to the other students.
But even if one standard level of testing is indeed a flaw, it is a simple one to amend - multiple levels of testing would be created. They would still be standardized across each level, but they would not be standardized with each other. Even so, at least in earlier grades, it is useful to have one test for everyone, since this can help determine course placement.<<

===REBUTTAL:===

1) There are 3 levels of testing: Ordinary, Honours and Advanced. However, with the millions of students in America, it is still only 3 levels. It is very hard 2 find 2 identical students. Therefore, even to test them on 3 levels, it gives some choice, but considering no 2 students are the same, it doesn't give much.

2) A single standardized test does not cater for a students need, even if they are only 10 years of age. There is still a gap between them and their fellow students. If it is not addressed early on, they can slip behind on a subject because it is beyond their level. Likewise with a smart student, they can find the course to easy until they are streamlined. But students can still find streamlined education easy.

===PRO:===
>>My opponent claims that "students study the same subjects, specifically math and english" and that schools "will not focus on subjects such as History, Geography, Art, Etc., which can be as educational to a student as Maths or English."
This is not true. While it may be true that current NCLB legislation is aimed toward the two subjects, it affects classes of other disciplines as well, Science being notable as one.
But even if the focus is too specific, that is not a problem for an _ideal form_ of NCLB. Broadening the focus to include other disciplines would not be a large enough change for it not to be considered a form of NCLB, so an ideal form of NCLB might very well focus on all disciplines (assuming that applying to all disciplines rather than a few is in fact good).<<

===REBUTTAL:===

The ideal form of NCLB must be different from the current flawed form and still retain characteristics. One of NCLB's major characteristics is the emphasis on Maths, English and to an extent Science. There are problems with broadening the course to other subjects:

1) Because they have to be standardized, it could take well over a decade before an "ideal" form of them is found

2) It is very difficult to standardize subjects such as Woodwork and Art as they focus on practicality rather than theory.

3) The new NCLB's traits would be severely different from the current format of NCLB. It would come to a point where it could no longer be referred to as a version of NCLB.

===PRO:===
>>My opponent claims that NCLB is bad because it underpoulates and overpopulates schools. Ha...! Underpopulated schools, which would likely be schools which are not educating the students very well, deserve to fail - and this competition would make that happen. The overpopulation of good schools means that more good schools would have to be created to ease the burden. Luckily, there happen to be a bunch of failing schools whose carcasses can be improved upon greatly. This would of course require more good teachers and administrators, and a pay raise may be needed for these groups to accomplish this - a good end in itself.

Accepting failing schools as they are and letting them remain as they are is not the preferred action. Rather, improving of bad schools through competition and additional funding is superior, and that is something an ideal form of NCLB successfully does.<<

===REBUTTAL:===

1) Schools with lower test scores should have their funding increased. Often, schools that are failing do not have the resources to increase their test scores. Scores with higher scores tend to be more middle-upper class, due to the added resources that the parents can provide. A school in a poor area cannot improve it's scores without the right resources. NCLB prefers to penalise schools that do not have resources and prefers to penalise those which have plenty of resources.

2) Schools that don't have the test scores obviously don't have the resources. If their resources are removed, then schools could close down. The cost of re-opening schools or building new ones costs more than simply funding the existing ones. Having to re-open schools and build new ones therefore reduces money, therefore reduces welfare negatively.

===PRO:===
>>. My opponent contends that standardized testing inherently caters to the average rather than to those who are intelligent. This is not true, even in the current system. Studnets who are more intelligent should be placed in more advanced classes, which would have more advanced tests as a result. For instance, I myself took Algebra I in seventh grade and Geometry in 8th - even though that's two years ahead of most. I was not then given the same 7th/8th grade math exam as everyone else - I was given an Algebra I/Geometry exam instead.<<

===REBUTTAL:===

I understand putting students in advanced classes, however, in your example where you were two years ahead in Maths, what happens when you reach your final two years of schooling? You can no longer study Maths any further because you have completed the course earlier. This is obviously not catering towards the intelligent student.

===PRO:===
>>My opponent contends that overcrowded schools creates problems, though I have already addressed that. If good schools are overcrowded, then more good schools will be created to deal with the problem - and they will be created from the schools that are failing. Further, overcrowded schools will be given more money (since funding is likely proportional to the amount of students taught), and if they also meet NCLB requirements, they will receive additional funding - combined, this will allow such successful schools to expand if necessary.<<

===REBUTTAL:===

The creation of new schools and expanding current schools is easily more expensive than updating current ones. This is an obvious decrease in welfare.

===CON ARGUMENT #1: STANDARDIZED TESTING IS NEGATIVE====

To expand on this point, I will bring attention to the point standardized testing can be racist [Source:http://www.raceandhistory.com...]. I quote my source in that:

"But as ETS concedes, questions chosen for future use must produce (in the pre-test phase) similar gaps between test-takers as existed in the overall test taken at that time. In other words, questions are rarely if ever selected for future use if students who received lower scores overall answer that particular question correctly as often or more often than those who scored higher overall.

The racial implications of such a policy should be clear. Because blacks, Latinos, and American Indian students tend to score lower on these exams than whites and Asians, any question in the pre-test phase that black students answer correctly as often as (or more often than) whites would be virtually guaranteed never to appear on an actual standardized exam! "

I await my opponents response, and thank the judges and readers fro reading.
Debate Round No. 2
beem0r

Pro

beem0r forfeited this round.
I-am-a-panda

Con

Well, to conclude my argument being my opponent forfeited the last round:

===CONCLUSION:===

1) The standardized testing system does not cater for students of extremely high or low intellect.

2) The emphasis on Maths, English and Science is problematic, as it narrow3s the course away from subjects like Art and Woodwork, which are hard to standardize.

3) Failing schools often require funds to come to a sustainable level. If they are deprived of these funds, they fail and the cost of building new schools is far greater than upgrading the existing one. This drain in funds can indeed reduce welfare.

4) Standardized testing is racially biased towards Caucasians. [Source:http://www.raceandhistory.com......]

I would like to thank my opponent for the debate, and judges and members for reading. Thank you.
Debate Round No. 3
8 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 8 records.
Posted by RoyLatham 8 years ago
RoyLatham
The resolution does have a problem. I think the most reasonable interpretation is is to take "ideal" to mean "much improved." Under that interpretation, Pro has to spell out improvements, which he did. The Con argument against standardized testing not accommodating all levels is clearly wrong; many tests, like college boards and IQ tests, accommodate very large ranges. Pro pointed this out. Pro loses conduct for forfeiting the last round.
Posted by beem0r 8 years ago
beem0r
Your beloved animu and mango are alleged to be art.
Posted by s0m31john 8 years ago
s0m31john
"Art and Woodwork"

Yeah, those are important.
Posted by PoeJoe 8 years ago
PoeJoe
+ I think that the resolution is grossly unfair. An "ideal" form? An ideal form of monarchy would be great! An ideal form of socialism. An idea form of capitalism. If anything is "idea" . . . my point, I hope, has been made clear.

+ Conduct goes to CON, because PRO forfeited a round.

+ English goes to PRO. CON made more noticeable typos. The only typo I noticed while reading PRO's argument was "Studnets".

+ I hesitate, but I give the argument vote to PRO. Most of CON's arguments forget that the resolution asks for an "ideal" form.

+ Sources is a tie.
Posted by beem0r 8 years ago
beem0r
Yeah, I lost track of time. I might bow out of the tournament completely, since I'm just too busy with other things.
Posted by philosphical 8 years ago
philosphical
mm good debate. i am going to have to vote panda for this one though
Posted by I-am-a-panda 8 years ago
I-am-a-panda
Wow, That was somewhat surprising from beem0r. *Awaits a scolding from zippo*
Posted by beem0r 8 years ago
beem0r
Bah.
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Vote Placed by studentathletechristian8 8 years ago
studentathletechristian8
beem0rI-am-a-pandaTied
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The_Booner
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