“Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world”, said former South African President, Nelson Mandela. Education brings higher paid jobs, more opportunities, and a healthier community. Currently the education system in the United States is flawed as evidenced by our high school mathematics ranking of 35th in the world, 25th in reading and 27th in science*. America’s rankings fall far behind that of the majority of Asian countries. The last time Congress reauthorized the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965, America received the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) of 2001. The focus of NCLB was standard based education reform based on the premise that setting high standards and establishing measurable goals can improve individual outcomes in education.
Senator Thomas Harkin of Indiana introduced Strengthening America’s Schools Act of 2013 on June 4, 2013. It is an act which covers the concerns of the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001, but S.1094 does not address many of the shortcomings of the American education system and is not that much different than NCLB. Therefore it will not make a dramatic impact on improving education in America.
The NCLB Act requires all public schools receiving federal funding to administer a state-wide standardized test (MCAS) annually to all students. If the school’s results are below standard, then steps are taken to improve the school. Some of these steps include finding new teachers, giving control of the school to the state, or changing the curriculum. The bill was intended to hold teachers and schools accountable to standards. Many argue that NCLB is flawed because it targets standardized testing once a child is in 3rd grade and some believe that education targeting needs to start before kindergarten. Teachers are now teaching to the standardized tests and while math, science and English are taught, students no longer have a well-rounded educational experience that includes training in music and the arts.
The main difference between the current law NCLB and S 1094 is that S 1094 would add a new program related to early childhood education; and add a “well rounded”...