Essay on Access to Education: No Child Left Behind

Published: 2021-07-08
415 words
2 pages
4 min to read
Sewanee University of the South
Type of paper: 
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No Child Left Behind (NCLB) is legislation that was enacted to enable the actualization of equitable education practices in public schools in the United States. Despite its noble cause, the legislation is plagued by the effects of the adage, the road to hell is paved with good intentions.' This paper examines why the NCLB is fundamentally flawed.

One of the effects that the legislation brought about was an emphasis on statewide standardized tests for public school systems. As a result, test scores were used as the sole variable in determining the quality of education from an institution regardless of individual environments of the schools (Bogin & NguyenHoang, 2014). This is problematic as different schools bearing different environments would perform differently, thereby increasing the inequality the Act sought to curb. Where the internal environments of the schools are not looked into when applying this blanket test, the effect would be that of looking the other way when it comes to schools whose standards are wanting.

Moreover, the Act sought to pin the underperformance of schools on the ineffectiveness of teachers a diagnosis that is somewhat degrading the teachers (Grissom, Nicholson-Crotty, & Harrington, 2014). By asserting that the chief reason for failure in schools is, the unprofessionalism among teachers explicitly puts teachers on the spot as the sole reason behind poor school performance. Nevertheless, the situation on the ground is different as various stakeholders contribute to the successful disbursement of public education, including the federal government in providing suitable learning environments (Good, Burch, Stewart, Acosta, & Heinrich, 2014). While the legislation has enacted the positive aspect of incorporating evidence-based practice into teaching practice, putting teachers in the spotlight has a de-professionalizing effect on teachers and undermines their capabilities to educate children effectively.

Conclusively, the Act carves these huge disadvantages into stone, thereby creating a diversity of problems when enacting the No Child Left Behind Act. The adage rings true, and the positive effects of the Act come with their perquisites.



Bogin, A., & NguyenHoang, P. (2014). Property left behind: An unintended consequence of a no child left behind failing school designation. Journal of Regional Science, 54(5), 788-805.

Good, A. B., Burch, P., Stewart, M., Acosta, R., & Heinrich, C. (2014). Instruction matters: Lessons from a mixed-method evaluation of out-of-school time tutoring under No Child Left Behind. Teachers College Record, 116(3), 1-34.

Grissom, J. A., Nicholson-Crotty, S., & Harrington, J. R. (2014). Estimating the effects of No Child Left Behind on teachers work environments and job attitudes. Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis, 36(4), 417-436.


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