Standardized testing has become the measure by which schools and students are judged in today's world. Sadly, their educational freedom is being sacrificed in an attempt to ensure their place in the future. In order to make educational reform work it must be established that standardized tests will not create a lasting solution to the problem at hand.
The No Child Left Behind Act that was passed in 2002 has in its time become little more than a running punch line that continues to masquerade as an effective policy. Parents and teachers are often amazed and left in awe at the numbers that are produced in terms of how many children show a marked improvement thanks to the policy. What is not seen is the effect that such a policy has begun to have on other subjects that in many schools have been all but eliminated.
Subjects such as mathematics, English, and other core subjects are safe and secure as they are required by state mandate to be part of the school curriculum. Such classes are considered to be capable of teaching lifelong learning and important critical thinking skills that can aid children in their educational future. What is not always seen is the effect upon other programs that can benefit children, but are not seen as useful by the state.
Testing is the name of the game now. Testing, more testing, and even more testing upon subjects that while important do not always incorporate what every student wishes to learn. Academic and intellectual freedom is assaulted when limits are placed upon learning. The No Child Left Behind Act is an act in academic sabotage when it comes to whittling down what is seen as extraneous and unnecessary.
In order to save precious time for more testing and core learning so as to better prepare for even more testing, programs such as music, social studies, and in some cases even physical education are becoming severely limited. The danger inherent in this omission of courses becomes evident when the NCLB Act fails to acknowledge the reason behind why testing scores begin to go lower again and again as students begin to lose interest.
These numbers will rarely be shown, as many do not wish to admit that the act does not work the way it should. While it was begun with good intentions, the NCLB Act very soon became a dodge for many schools to cut programs that they could no longer afford to fund. It is very true that rumor and gossip abound concerning the act, but far too many rumors have been proven correct in the past where the NCLB Act is involved.
It does not work as it should. The mere act of limiting educational freedom is an abhorrence to students and teachers alike. Stifling the learning of any child goes against what the act is meant to do. In short, the act is its own worst detractor, as it promotes little more than a botched attempt at mental cloning gone wrong.