Improving Education Policy

Improving Education Policy

No Child Left Behind (NCLB), is an education policy in the United States and also a federal law that aims at improving public secondary and primary schools. It also aims at improving student performance through increased accountability for school districts, schools, and states (Markowitz, 2018). NCLB has led to significant changes in the education system especially the curriculum for secondary and primary schools in the U.S. it has also increased federal regulation for school systems.

High quality education helps in nurturing skill sets and developing the knowledge base for students to maximize their potential while strengthening economies and stabilizing communities. The No Child Left Behind policy was implemented in January 2001 by President George W. Bush in the effort of reforming the public-school education system. Even though NCLB aims at closing the achievement gap, it fails to address the systematic barriers faced by children living in oppression and poverty. From the perspective of social work, academic success can be achieved with higher student expectation, but failure to account for structural inequalities and segregation lead to failure especially for disadvantaged students (Thompson, Frey & Kelly, 2019). Nonetheless, NCLB fails to take issues of multiculturalism, diversity, and community differences into account.

School social workers are entitled to work with students in disadvantaged populations as defined by NCLB. Research also shows that by alleviating the emotional and social barriers that disadvantaged students face, their likelihood of success in school will be increased (Markowitz, 2018). The interventions provided by NCLB shape the service that school social workers provide and help them create a diversity of practice in their profession. The diversity enables them to be responsive to students’ needs. School social workers need to be responsive to the goals and mission of NCLB as related to the provision of needs to students from low-income families. Being responsive means that social workers are required to do the necessary things needed to meet the needs of particular students within the school district. Social workers should be able to discover the problems with the policy and come up with effective solutions to dealing with the problems.

Several strategies can be used to improve the NCLB policy. First, there is a need to reform the policy by setting high but attainable standards for schools. If schools fail to meet the set standards, there will no accountability for all. Along with more reasonable goals, there is a need to monitor the progress of this reformation to improve the test scores (Thompson, Frey & Kelly, 2019). The tests can be used to measure the goals for students and teachers. Setting tests for only math and reading as required by NCLB can lead to the degradation of other subjects. Thus, testing designs should be improved. It is also critical to make accountability symmetric. Contemporarily teachers and schools are the main focus of the current accountability system including those in underperforming schools. NCLB fails to impose consequences for all students. Performance sanctions and rewards need to be equally distributed among students, school teachers, and districts. An effective accountability system should be able to hold every individual accountable. Another way of improving NCLB is ensuring there is fairness. All teachers should be provided with equal resources for effectiveness including teachers in inner-city and countryside and those in rich and poor districts. Students should also be offered adequate education regardless of where they live, or their ethnic and racial backgrounds.






Markowitz, A. J. (2018). Changes in school engagement as a function of No Child Left Behind: A comparative interrupted time series analysis. American educational research journal55(4), 721-760.

Thompson, A. M., Frey, A. J., & Kelly, M. S. (2019). Factors influencing school social work practice: A latent profile analysis. School Mental Health11(1), 129-140.

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