The Instigator
PrincessLindsey
Pro (for)
Losing
0 Points
The Contender
LaissezFaire
Con (against)
Winning
20 Points

The No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 has improved academic achievement in the U.S.

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 8/24/2010 Category: Education
Updated: 7 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 2,515 times Debate No: 11125
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (4)
Votes (3)

 

PrincessLindsey

Pro

Thanks you for debating.This is the district/state/nationals topics from 2009
My first point is that the no child left behind act allows teachers and parents the resources they need to help children who are behind in learning, who need it most. This act tests the children in schools to make sure that they are learning. This is a useful tool, to see what areas kids are having trouble in, and what they can do to factor out the trouble, and implement the most time into the things that need the most work. For example, the MAP (Missouri assessment program) tests kids in various grades to see what level of learning they are in. I have received my scores and my parents and I can see the areas I am deficient in and we can target them to make those grades better, and make our school's progress percentage even better the next year. The score sheets give students examples on how to improve their learning, and what they should be most concentrated on. This is a great thing for parents to look at, and it's helpful to teachers, for them to see if their teaching is proficient enough. Robert E. Cleary, a professor of Public affairs at American university says" Congress appropriated 40% more money to support programs for needy and disadvantaged students under the title I of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act than is had appropriated in fiscal year 2001." This means the kids who need more help with learning, are getting it. Therefore more money has been implanted into the school systems to make sure they get focused attention on their specific needs.
My second point is that with the NCLB act, schools are forced to focus more on the basic, critical skills, like math in reading. If the children who are deficient in these areas don't get immediate help when they are at the vulnerable young age, they might not be able to be helped later on in life. Math and Reading skills are skills we use every day in life. In the last two years with the NCLB act, the number of fourth graders who learned their fundamental math skills increased by 235,000. Also, forty-three states and the District of Columbia either improved academically or held steady in all categories. The skills are increased with the NCLB and the kids are getting a better understanding of the concepts, they can continue in success and be able to grow up and have a successful job, and future. This is a great benefit for kids today, to have the chance to study even harder in the areas they need, therefore increasing their knowledge and creating a better future.
My third point is that with the NCLB act, schools are constantly being urged to improve their scores on state testing, such as the MAP test, which therefore makes it better for the districts, to get more funding for doing well, and more funding if they need improvement. Schools each year are required to take some sort of statewide testing to see what levels students are on to see if the school need better administrators, or they need to focus on a specific subject to improve on. This helps the schools because when they don't improve, they can see why, and they can get better teachers, who can help the students understand the specific subject better, and they can have a better learning experience. When kids get specifically focused on it raises their grade level and they are able to comprehend things much better. For example, results from test scores from 2003 to 2004 have increased, showing that the NCLB act is working. This is exactly what the resolution is asking for; the no child left behind act has improved academic achievement.
LaissezFaire

Con

The NCLB act not only did not improve academic achievement in the U.S., it has been detrimental to it. It forces teachers to spend their classroom time "teaching to the test," that is, teaching test-taking skills specific to whatever is on the test, instead of actual material. According to education expert Alfie Kohn, "The law is not about narrowing the achievement gap; its main effect has been to sentence poor children to an endless regimen of test-preparation drills." And furthermore, "even if the scores do rise, it's at the expense of a quality education." [1] Teachers agree that NCLB is detrimental to their learning. Only 3% of teachers think that NCLB helps them teach more efficiently.

[1] Kohn, Alfie, "NCLB: 'Too Destructive to Salvage,'" USA Today, 31 May 2007.

For an example of how NCLB hurts learning, we can look at English specifically. The standardized tests test rules of grammar and punctuation, so, if schools want to pass, they have to focus on those things. Of course, grammar and punctuation are important, but I don't think anyone would agree that they should be the focus of English classes. Teachers and education experts agree that the best way for students to learn to write and read better is to actually practice real writing and reading, rather than waste their time on artificial standardized test questions.
But have test scores improved under NCLB? Maybe. First, keep in mind that NCLB forces teachers to teach to the test instead of focusing on real learning. Second, test score data is notoriously unreliable, especially after NCLB. States that were faced with losing funding because of poor performing schools often change their tests to make them easier. This increases the percentage of students that ‘pass' these tests, but certainly isn't a sign of an improvement in academic achievement.

If NCLB improved the quality of education, surely this would include high school graduation rates. Of course, that isn't what happened. Those rates did not improve, and are still terrible. [2] Academic achievement certainly can't be said to be improving if students aren't even graduating.

[2] Grey, Berry, "High-School Drop Out Rate in Major US Cities at Nearly 50 Percent," 3 April 2008.

Another problem with NCLB is that its focus on funding. It turns out that there is no correlation between academic achievement, contrary to popular belief that inner city schools have poor performance because of poor funding. [3] An example of this is in Kansas City, where a judge ordered the state to appropriate an additional $2 billion to fix failing schools. Per-student spending increased to $9,500, compared to $3,000-$6,000 in the surrounding suburbs. What were the results? The schools showed absolutely no improvement. [4]

[3] Eric A. Hanushek, "School Resources and Student Performance," in Gary Burtless, ed., Does Money Matter? The Effect of School Resources on Student Achievement and Adult Success (Washington, D.C.: Brookings Institution Press, 1996), pp. 74-92.

[4] "Desegregation's Broken Promises," Forbes.com, 10 Nov. 2003.

In conclusion, my opponent has provided no evidence that NCLB has improved academic achievement at all, and, in fact, the evidence points to the contrary.
Debate Round No. 1
PrincessLindsey

Pro

PrincessLindsey forfeited this round.
LaissezFaire

Con

Arguments extended.
Debate Round No. 2
PrincessLindsey

Pro

PrincessLindsey forfeited this round.
LaissezFaire

Con

Arguments extended.
Debate Round No. 3
4 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 4 records.
Posted by wjmelements 7 years ago
wjmelements
CON didn't give himself grammar, but the first line alone should warrant the category.
Posted by LaissezFaire 7 years ago
LaissezFaire
Hmm. Why is there a comment from 6 months ago here?
Posted by Rockylightning 7 years ago
Rockylightning
Go CON. Go CON!
Posted by I-am-a-panda 7 years ago
I-am-a-panda
The space bar is fantastic
3 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 3 records.
Vote Placed by wjmelements 7 years ago
wjmelements
PrincessLindseyLaissezFaireTied
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Total points awarded:07 
Vote Placed by J.Kenyon 7 years ago
J.Kenyon
PrincessLindseyLaissezFaireTied
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Vote Placed by LaissezFaire 7 years ago
LaissezFaire
PrincessLindseyLaissezFaireTied
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Total points awarded:06