There has been some recent commentary about the Country’s Student’s math and reading scores lately, and fresh commentary about how the No Child Left Behind initiative is really working for our children. In my opinion, the NCLB initiative gave my daughter a chance to have an excellent education, and currently succeed in college. It is not to say that the NCLB program does not work, but if the parents do not utilize the program to the full benefit for the child, you could get stuck with something less than favorable.
Research is the best tool, listen to, and pay attention to your child’s behavior, what they are telling you is going on in the school, and the occasional impromptu visit will give you the best insight. Moving to Manhattan at the beginning of the school year, a girl had to complete the 6th grade, and then middle school. She attended both under the NCLB initiative.
The elementary school experience was based on visual perception of the school & students (there is an elementary school across the street to the south of where they lived and it just happened to be lunch time when the visit took place and the children were in the yard playing). Later that day another school was seen just a few blocks away (much more orderly), The personnel at the district office told said that the “liked” school was a zoned school and the girl could not attend. Upon insisting to the district office personnel that the child WOULD NOT be attending that first school, they gave information about the NCLB initiative. You had to choose from the list of participating schools. Research was done and a nice school was found near Central Park that was more likeable. She did very well there. It was 25 blocks away from home (2 buses) but it was worth it. The elementary school was great, but the child was not comfortable with the TAG (Talented And Gifted) JHS choice that was recommended so the hunt for a different Junior High School began.
Now aware of the NCLB initiative, it was much easier to choose when attending the JHS fairs. A school was found that both parent and child felt was more like the schools the child had attended before moving to Manhattan, and it was an NCLB school. But it was far – to travel from Manhattan to Whitestone, Queens wasn’t always going to be easy, but the child was involved in the band again(she played the trumpet in the band before the move to Manhattan), and made many friends, many of whom she is still friends with today – or not for reasons that didn’t match her personality. She went to High School through NCLB. She spent Freshman year in a school that was researched and found to be advertised as a good school, in Manhattan, and thought she would like it since she wished to be a Journalism Major in college, and would have less of a commute. She had fair grades, but found the school’s overall feel not really matching her personality, and was basically unhappy. In NYC you can only switch High Schools after Freshman year, so pulling NCLB out of the hat she was able to a new High School in a different part of Queens, continued in the band, became an AP student, and now is in college.
That’s how works.
Now, why it doesn’t work for others:
1.) Lack of research – you have to do your homework, if you (or someone you know) is not “computer savvy”, then take a free course, in NYC, the Public Library has courses on how to use the computer, and learn. Get another person (not the child) to help, whatever it takes! You cannot always listen to what people tell you. Take advice, but you have to see it for yourself. You may have to get out of your “comfort zone” to take a trip and visit schools…who said being a parent had to be comfortable (all of the time)
2.) Not paying attention to the child’s behavior – You don’t have to read a fancy book, or “have a special moment” to interact with your child. While you are washing their hair, walking to the store, eating, watching tv, parents have to pay attention to their behavior patterns and listen a little more. If you listen (and sometimes you have to sift through the ‘blah, blah, blah” to get to the heart of the matter)…you will know what’s going on.
3) Willingness to just accept what’s around you. After experiencing life in a few neighborhoods in NYC, there is a trend for some parents to not want their children to travel to attend better schools, but are not amassing themselves to be a vocal force to have the schools really improve. The addition of one simple class could make great changes for every student – music class. It is this writer’s opinion that music is an important tool to help children learn.
See link:http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/03/090316075843.htm to read more.
It is sad that a portion of the children of this “closed box” thinking, do not go to college, they drop out of High School, and for what? But its like anything else, you have to make it work for you, and NCLB may not be for everyone, now the the charter schools, and other good options out there…the most important thing is that you find a school where your child can become inspired, be encouraged, be a friend, be educated, and become a productive, intelligent, happy citizen.