Education is one of the critical aspects in the society especially in the case of the United States. The success of education relates to the ability of the relevant authority to adopt and integrate effective and efficient educational policy with the aim of addressing goals and targets in relation to elements of the society such as economy, politics, and social spheres. One of the critical federal educational policies is the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 (NCLB). This is the most recent iteration in relation to the context of Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 (ESEA). It reflects one of the major federal laws essential in facilitating federal spending on relevant programs with the aim of supporting K-12 schooling. NCLB educational policy should focus on integration of new qualification standards for teachers, concentrate on the improvement of schools, as well as include higher-thinking and problem-solving skills.
Summary of Current Educational Policy
In 1965, ESEA became active following its development as one of the elements or parts of the Johnson Administration's War on Poverty campaign. The main goal of the ESEA following its development and recent operations is to improve educational equity for students from lower income families through provision of federal funds to school districts serving the poor students. It is ideal to note that school districts offering services to lower income students have the tendency of receiving less state and local funding in comparison to the schools serving children that are more affluent (Dee & Jacob, 2011).
Following its integration in 1965, ESEA continues to experience transformations, most recently in 2002 through incorporation of the No Child Left Behind Act/Policy. Most of the seven reauthorizations have been essential in development of changes to the program. This occurs despite the ability of the ESEA to hold on to its initial central goal of improving educational opportunities for children from the lower income families. In 1994, there was a critical transformation to the ESEA with the aspect of integrating Improving America's Schools Act. This reauthorization was critical towards integration of key standards and accountability elements with the aim of enhancing effectiveness and efficiency of the operations in states and local school districts receiving funding under the law. The integration of accountabilities and relevant provisions were critical towards incorporation of the most recent reauthorization in the form of No Child Left behind Act (NCLB).
NCLB has the ability to cover diverse federal education programs. Despite this aspect, it is critical to note that three crucial factors receive most attention. These factors include school movement, accountability, and law's requirement for testing. According to its implementer, George Bush in 2001, "when it comes to the education of our children…failure is not an option." This is an indication that the policy focuses on the provision of educational facilities and requirements to the children of the United States. The policy relates to four critical reform principles. These principles include accountability, flexibility, research-based reforms, and parental options. Accountability relates to the aspect and ability of the schools to guarantee quality results. Flexibility relates to the ability of the local authorities to exercise control with the aim of eliminating local challenges such as poverty. Parental options principle is ideal because of the ability of the policy to offer choices and alternatives to parents as well as provision of hope to the kids. Finally, research-based reforms principle focuses on the ability of the policy to integrate proven methods for generation of quality results (Trolian & Fouts, 2011).
Critique of Current Educational Policy
This (NCLB) educational policy continues to draw various controversies because of its effectiveness and weaknesses towards enhancing educational development in the case of the United States. Supporters of the policy indicates that it has the ability to hold schools more accountable for the quality of their teachers as well as the levels and quality of results under the influence of educational facilities (Tavakolian & Howell, 2012). These supporters also note that the policy has been crucial towards realization of the improved performance since its integration or implementation in the case of 2002. The policy has the ability and capacity to offer students alternatives or choices because of its flexibility towards enhancing educational quality in the United States (Koyama, 2012). For instance, if students fail to achieve AYP two years in a row, the people has the opportunity to transfer to another school, register in after-school programs, as well as obtain tutoring programs with the aim of improving his or her performance levels. It is also critical to note that the policy has been crucial in improving the amount of funding schools is obtaining (Grey, 2010). Major share of the funding amount is critical in improving reading and mathematics performance. In addition, the money is critical in realization of the goals of assessment programs online.
Critics consider the policy as failing to achieve its goals and objectives in relation to realization of quality education in the case of the United States (Hewitt, 2011). These scholars argue that the schools are skewing various figures in order to arrive at quality results. For example, in certain cases, dropouts constitute in the calculation of the attendance figures for quality and better results. According to this school of thought, the results following the implementation of NCLB are erroneous because of the tendency of comparing results between 2005 and 2000, two years prior to the integration of the policy (Daly et al., 2006). In addition, the educational policy aims to high because of inability to achieve 100% proficiency in the case of the United States. Teachers also tend to focus on the major testable factors thus enabling the school to pass specific test instead of learning as the essential goal.
In order to enhance effectiveness and efficiency of the NCLB educational policy, it is ideal to focus on integration of the following recommendations:
Encouragement of more-uniform academic standards and teachers qualification requirements across the states
Implementation of more appropriate improvement targets
Enhancing the measure of student learning beyond multiple-choice tests in reading and mathematics thus inclusion of more subjects with the aim of testing for higher-thinking and problem solving skills
Concentrate in the improvement efforts on all schools as well as provision of parental choice
Offer incentives for highly qualified professional teachers to provide their services in low-performing schools
Analysis of Recommendations
More-uniform academic standards and teachers qualifications across the states should be crucial towards improving educational levels across the United States rather than selective areas and states. This will be successful through integration of adequate and appropriate improvement targets for the education sector. Education should focus on much more than reading and mathematics performance thus the inclusion of problem solving skills and higher-thinking capabilities. Finally, there is need to attract highly qualified teaching practitioners to the low-performing schools. This is achievable through diverse incentives (Lagana-Riordan & Aguilar, 2009).
The above recommendations would benefit from substantive political support with the aim of integrating conservative and liberal views and perceptions. In order to gain this support, it is ideal to integrate recommendations that focus on the achievement of holistic goals in accordance with the improvement of educational levels across the United States. This is through merging educational policies from the liberal and conservative perceptions in the case of the United States. Political arena would be crucial for selling of the recommendations to the diverse perceptions within the society.
The government, through its educational secretary should focus on the implementation of these recommendations through ensuring adequate mechanisms. These include availing of financial incentives for the highly qualified teachers to offer their services to low-performing schools, enhancing the testing criteria for the performance of the schools, and concentrating on the development of schools. The government should also focus on the integration of teachers' qualification criteria towards…