The federal program referred to as “No Child Left Behind” is based on a faulty foundation. It is based on a negative approach—and no negative approach is long-lasting.
The federal legislation classifies students in six sub-categories: (1) black, (2) white, (3) Hispanic, (4) economically disadvantaged, (5) special education, and (6) English language learners. All must attain higher scores each year until 2014 when all schools across the U.S.A. reach a 100% pass rate.
It appears obvious to most people that many factors affect students’ learning—including socio-economic status, expectations of the parents regarding education, and genetic makeup.
Yet, despite these factors, the federal government has mandated that all schools will meet these arbitrary and unrealistic standards—or be labeled as failures.
The result of this federal legislation has been not only a lack of improved learning on the part of students but a huge exodus of experienced teachers, lower teacher morale, and negative feelings about education in general.
How do educational leaders allow this to happen?
Regardless of good intentions, any long-lasting program that is successful must be based on empowerment of the practitioners, rather than on one that is punishment-directed.
Here is a list of other approaches that are counterproductive.