Our View: No Child Left Behind raises stakes to impossible levels

We’re all individuals and we all learn in different ways and at different rates, so is it really fair that 94 percent of our schools have to be “above average” to meet the expectations of the No Child Left Behind (NCLB)?

According to the New York Times, back in 2010 an estimated 39 percent of schools were not meeting the expectations of the law and therefore were considered to be failing.

The same article also stated that in 2011 out of 49 states, about 48 percent of the schools were failing. That was nine percent higher than the year just before.

According to a different article by Joe Dejka, posted on omaha.com, it is said that “Statewide, 869 of 1,361 public schools failed to meet targets for test participation and proficiency in reading and mathematics in the 2012-13 school year.”

Now that means about 63.9 percent of Iowa’s public schools are “failing” according to the law’s standards.

That’s a very high number and with the percentage of how many students need to be “above average” changing to 100 percent next year, that number of failing Iowa public schools will most likely rise even higher.

The law was a good idea and had good intentions, but at this point it’s just setting nearly all the schools up for failure, as it is just too difficult and too much to ask nearly all of the students to be above average.

What is average if they expect us all to be above it? What about the students that are not above average, because it takes them a little longer to understand and get a grasp of the material?

Another point is there are schools that reach these goals more easily due to their sizes or maybe their admission standards. In a school of over a thousand the chances of having about 940 students be above average is very unrealistic and highly unlikely.

Besides the impossible goals that the law sets at this point, what about the effects it has on people and students when they are told year after year that they are failing? Being told year after year, or even if it’s only one year, that you failed, are failing or are a failure is like a giant smack in the face.

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