January first and most debated article of

8th 2002, then President George W. Bush proposed a bill that was
shortly approved by Congress and later enacted as a law that we today refer as
the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001. Title 1 is the first and most debated
article of this provision, and ”The purpose of this title is to ensure that
all children have a fair, equal, and significant opportunity to obtain a
high-quality education and reach, at a minimum, proficiency on challenging State
academic achievement standards and state academic assessments” (107th
Congress, 2002). In other words, the bill was established with the purpose of
ensuring that no child is left behind by implementing services, with a combined
effort from the school, parents, and student, which will assure the graduation
of all students in America. In this piece of legislation, schools are required
to meet certain standards to receive and continue receiving funds from the
federal government. The rigidity of the requirements decreases flexibility for
the schools to meet those requirements and puts pressure on the schools to meet
the deadline imposed in the act. Not only does the law make it harder for
schools to succeed in the goals outlined in the bill, but it also excludes a
number of groups from the equation. Among many groups that are excluded, the
groups that will be further discussed will be children of the foster care
system and deaf children. We’ll look at how foster care children have a hard
time learning and succeeding in school and how they don’t share an equal
opportunity at succeeding in life. Also, we will explore the ramifications that
lead to this unfair chance at success. As for deaf children, we will see how
Dr. Richard C. Steffan acknowledges the
explicit exclusion of deaf children in the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001.

Although there have been many flaws with the initial implementation of the law,
amendments and provisions have been made to mend the imperfections of the law.

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Barack Obama speaks on that topic in a speech held at the White House in
Washington, DC. In doing so, we will see how some of the problems were addressed
and how there are still some changes that ought to be made to ensure that truly
all students are not left behind.

we think of a student, we think of a traditional child who comes from an
ordinary family, but that’s not the representation of every student. The No
Child Left Behind Law does not account for every individual child. Every child
comes from a different background. Some children come from a single headed
home; some children don’t have their biological parents present in their lives;
some children have different impairments that require a different method of
educating; and some children come from demographically different regions. Given
these various circumstances, with careful observation, one can observe that
these variables can have a significant impact on how the child performs in
school. A foster child would be the best example to properly exert this concept
of distinct individuality that calls for a higher level of consideration for
educating a child that comes from a background that’s far from traditional.

children have a much different life than that of a traditional student and
because of this the child has a harder time in school. Dr. James S. Vacca
believes, “The capacity to graduate from high school is often difficult and
challenging for all children in the welfare system, especially foster children”
(Vacca, 2007). There isn’t a sole reason as to why foster children have a
challenging time in school like Dr. Vacca so eloquently said; there are a
multitude of factors that contribute to this prevalent challenge for foster
children. Dr. Vacca believes that the following reasons foster children have a
hard time in school because more often than not foster children go through many
foster homes which make them instable. This instability does not allow the
child to establish healthy relationships with his peers nor the faculty. Each
school has a different educational plan, known as a curriculum. When a child
goes through a multitude of homes, the child may have an ambivalent direction
of instruction that is not focused on a goal. Dr. Vacca also believes that
because of foster child being in many foster homes, the various foster parents
that the child live with may not actively participate in the child’s academic
life. As a result, the plan of action from the No Child Left Behind Act cannot
be implemented.

            How does this impact the
life of foster children? Dr. Vacca would say that, due to the child’s
experience in foster care, the child is not properly prepared to succeed in
life. In Vacca’s words, “For every child, education is significant for making a
successful transition to adulthood.” We all know that in our contemporary
society, we are in a state of economic plight which employers demand that
prospective employees have a degree from an institution of higher education. If
a child does is not properly prepared, how can the child graduate from high
school? Let alone succeed in college if the child makes it there? The fact of
the matter is that the child would have a very difficult time and more than
likely won’t succeed. Dr. Vacca provides some interesting data to support this
argument. “Between 30% and 60% of children who emancipate from foster care at
age 18 graduate from high school or possess a GED,” (Vacca, 2007). What this
means is that between 70 and 40 percent of foster children don’t graduate from
high school. Dr. Vacca concludes that policies on every level ought to
implement programs and interventions that adhere to the various sensitivities
of foster children in order to promote the success of foster children which
would consequently promote a better success rate.

Among many disabled child, another type of child
that would have difficulties in succeeding in a school under the No Child Left
Behind Act is a deaf child. The reason being is the emphasis on state exams
from the provision. The standard is set by an average of all students in the
education system, which is an inaccurate representation of those children who
are deaf. Therefore, the deaf children are taking exams, competing at a level
of education that is incomparable, and in which they are at an unequal position
of passing or meeting the expectations of the standardized exams. MD. Richard
C. Steffan Jr. strongly believes that deaf children require more time to learn
to read. Steffan says that the teaching of reading curriculums of states has an
emphasis on sound. This makes it much harder for a deaf student to learn. Given
a deadline to meet expected goals puts enormous amounts of pressure on the
teachers and on the students. Consequently making it harder for a deaf student
to pass an exam and excel in his or her academics, especially the English
language (Steffan, 2004).

Not only does the No Child Left Behind Act affect
children, it also has an impact on the school. In order for a school to be
eligible for funding under this provision, a school must meet certain
requirements; such as submitting a plan of action to the government of how the
money will be spent. The plan must contain “must detail assessment plans,
identify at risk students, include coordination with other agencies and
programs, and define parental involvement strategies to name a few of the
required elements” (Ellis, 2007). Sounds pretty straight forward but there are
some negative connotations hidden within the provisions of this act. Charles R.

Ellis believes that for a school to be eligible for funding from the No Child
Left Behind Act is very hard; and that the school’s curriculum is required to
meet standards set by the committee that established the provision. This infers
that the government is then dictating what a school is supposed to teach how it
is to teach the material to the students. 
The argument raised here is how can the government and its apprehension
of data justify and rectify and address the uniquely individual problems and
various situations at every distinct school? The answer to that argument is
that that government cannot. Ellis said, “A one-size curriculum does not fit
all…That is why the teacher’s role in curriculum planning and enacting is
critical to the success of the students. NCLB takes time away from teaching,
learning, and differentiation of the curriculum that enables all the students
to truly learn and succeed” (Ellis, 2007).

            Current President Barack
Obama speaks to the concern of education and our obligation as a nation to
adhere to the progression of the children in school. At a speech held at the
White House, Obama said, “We’ve got to make sure we’ve got quality schools,
good teachers, the latest textbooks, the right technology…We’ve got too many
schools that are under-resourced, too many teachers who want to be in the
classroom who aren’t because of budget constraints, not because they can’t do
the job” (Obama, 2011). It seems as President Obama understands the importance
of school and understands some of the areas that require immediate assistance.

In regards to the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001, President Obama states that
he’s allowing “states, schools, and teachers” decide how they should govern the
school as long as they set standards that are high and “honest” (Obama, 2011).

Although this was a leap taken to better the faulty provision, there are many
issues that need to be addressed to assure that all students obtain an equal
and fair opportunity to succeed in school and in this world.

            No law is perfect, as
seen today. But with honest, sincere, and responsible efforts, the laws can be
changed to do what they are set out to do. In the case of the No Child Left
Behind Act, we have seen some of its faults and have been made aware of the
challenges faced by some groups that were excluded, but more so disregarded
from the provision. One being can make a difference. Ghandi said, “Whatever you
do in this life will be insignificant, but it is important that you do it because
nobody else will.” People who feel they are neglected or feel that others are
deprived of their rights should and ought to stand for what they believe. One
effort is good, but a combined one is better.