The United States has persistently been ranked at the bottom when it comes to education among developed countries. They have tried to come up with strategic ways to change their ranking, like standardized tests. This is an administered test over certain subjects like Math, English, History, and Science, and the form is the same for all test takers. They were not the first country to develop this method; in fact, this method was inspired from other countries that appeared to be doing better than them and still remain ranked at the bottom.
In 2002, President George W. Bush passed the “No Child Left Behind Act” which tied in schools’ public funding to standardized tests and enforced the tests in elementary and high schools every year by state education departments. This law also began to put more emphasize on standardized tests which has diminished our level of education and the law “made standardized test scores the primary measure of school quality” (Diane Ravitch 28). Bush hoped this law motivated more students to do well on these exams and teachers to help them prepare better, but it ended up hurting many schools in the process. These exams like the Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills (TAKS) should not play such a prominent role in schooling and the government should not make tests the main focal point.
“More than half of public school students in New York City failed their English exams,” (Medina). There are so many students that are continuously failing these exams and being held back from the next grade level or from graduating high school. These exams are doing more harm than good since students are failing to actually learn information. The students are so worried about passing the exams that they just try to remember information than actually sustain it. These exams were made for short-term memorization and critical thinking rather than long-term memorization. The “No Child Left Behind Act” affects public schools and puts a lot of pressure on them. Low test scores result in budget cuts for schools. This means schools have to cut extracurricular activities and may not have enough money to buy new textbooks or computers, or teachers will be let go. This creates a difficult learning environment for the students. Not only do schools suffer but students also suffer from the consequences of the emphasis put on standardized tests.
Upon teachers being let go a larger classroom is formed. Within classrooms of large sizes teachers can’t assist and aid all of the children. Some children will be over-looked and receive little or no help. This makes it difficult for children to pay attention so they can learn and it can cause them to lose interest in school which can result in failing or dropping out. This also adds more stress to teachers because not only is their job at stake, but now they have more children under their care.
If a student fails a test they are out-casted from the rest of the students. Peter Sacks said that, “Meritocracy’s...