Ask a teacher what should be changed about No Child Left Behind, and you might hear something like this: Do you have 500 hours? That's what Mary Tedrow, a high school English teacher from Virginia, said.
Indeed, the Bush administrations version of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act has become a controversial and oft-lamented issue. Its standardized testing has had the unintended effect of narrowing the curriculum by focusing on only math and reading.
The law has had a negative effect on what it means to teach and what it means to learn in Americas schools, said Lily Eskelsen, vice president of the National Education Association. Eskelsen wants to encourage more students in a pipeline to STEM careers, which stands for science, technology, engineering and mathematics. These careers are in high demand, and they're some of the highest-paying jobs in the country. But most schools are busy focusing on getting students to the year-end benchmarks in math and reading to worry about science.
Eskelsen refers to NCLB as No Child Left Untested, since that's been the result in the past eight years. The good news is that the Obama administration will be reauthorizing its own version of the ESEA, likely in 2011.