No Child Left Behind Act needs revisions

The love/hate relationship Floridians have with the No Child Behind Act is no secret.

Obviously, they want the best education for all students. But once statistics released Tuesday are considered, it becomes evident that the problems found in Florida are also present in other states. To be more than just a catchy slogan, the act’s funding and methods need to be significantly improved.

The Los Angeles Times published a study Tuesday which suggests more than 1,200 California public schools are facing sanctions, even though their test scores have improved by nearly 11 percent across the board. This not only raises the question of whether the act is working, but highlights new problems for schools that are already suffering — more budget cuts.

Per the rules imposed in January 2002, when the act was signed into law by President George W. Bush, schools that fail are punished while those that excel are rewarded. But schools showing problems should receive more funding not less, to be brought up to par with the others.

It may make sense to have government-imposed standards for schools to see how the system is faring overall, but under the current methods, suffering students — often in areas with a large percentage of minorities — are punished needlessly.

Ironically, this act was imposed by a Republican president who should, per party ideology, balk at any suggestion of government-imposed standards that increase federal control over state and local affairs.

Funding for the No Child Left Behind programs is also an area of contention, as Democrats claim Bush has “underfunded” the program, while Republicans say otherwise. The act arguably passes unfunded mandates to individual states and makes them come up with part of the funding on their own.

The clear bounce in education quality, which the act was hoped to bring, has not occurred. Instead, it has increased bureaucracy and government control of local schools.

In the end, most parents do not care how funding gets to their children’s schools, and it can be accepted that all parties involved are for sufficiently funding schools. But under the No Child Left Behind Act, funding has been scarce across the board.

Funding for public schools should be a priority, as children represent the future of this country; the way in which this is done should be re-evaluated.