Finally, nations with successful education systems pay attention to their “curriculums on critical thinking and problem solving, using exams that require students to conduct research and scientific investigations, solve complex real-world problems and defend their ideas orally and in writing”. These exercises are not intended to classify, rank or reprimand schools, or to deprive students of their pass-out certificates. The NCLB Act on the other hand seems to be at complete odds with such proven models of education. Nations in Western Europe and Scandinavia have shown robust educational institutions with impressive outcomes by “asking students to show what they know through real-world applications of knowledge and by encouraging serious intellectual activities that are being driven out of many US schools by the tests promoted by NCLB” (Darling-Hammond, 2008). Unless this reality is acknowledged by the Education Department, its legislative measures will continue to reflect underlying ignorance. In summary, it could be said that students will not be encouraged to learn in the absence of well-trained teaching staff. Neither will mere adopting of tests and punishments will induce a culture of accountability. If anything, implementing short-term punitive sanctions without sustained long-term investments will lead to the victimization of the most vulnerable pupils by a cruel system that is not designed to support their learning.
Darling-Hammond, Linda, No Child Left Behind Act, Promises and Problems, retrieved on 6th September, 2008, from <http://www.thenation.com/doc/20070521/darling-hammond/3>
No Child Left Behind Act, United States Department of Education, retrieved on 7th September, 2008, from <www.ed.gov/legislation/ESEA02/>