How Schools Are Ruining Our Youth With No Child Left Behind


by Jake Grosvenor, Opinions Editor

Public School has been one of the most heavily debated topics these past few years, new acts and systems have been put in place to help out kids have a brighter future and succeed in life. The most famous of these acts being No Child Left Behind, this act was passed in George W. Bush’s term, it required students be tested to meet a certain standard in subjects like math and english. The issue with this is that we are human beings, not a machine, holding every child to one standard is absurd and worse than if we just left the education system alone.

The main issue with having everyone being forced to be held at one standard is not everyone thinks the same and understands concepts as well as other students might. This act makes it seem like that’s true, where I accel in english, I lack in History, but you may be a master historian and horrible at writing. With programs and acts like No Child Left Behind, instead of taking my skill and expanding it, I have to sit through redundant classes as I watch students not meant to be writers struggle to meet what the government calls the “standard.”

This may be the worse thing about these programs, they don’t allow for students to find what they love and are good at and expand upon that. Unless you are in a magnet school, if you are a master writer you best hope for expanding on that would be journalism and creative writing classes, as opposed to classes that help expand on what you know and help you towards college.

The best way to explain this would be like the government wants millions of Wal-Marts, a place of normal products of wide variety, instead of a specialty store, that focuses on one great and unique products.

Psychologist Scott Barry Kaufman did research and in an interview with US News said that  “When you inspire them [students]  or you engage with something that’s personally meaningful for them, not external goals from the teacher, they do transform in lots of different ways. They go from appearing ungifted to quite gifted.”

Teaching kids to one standard for everyone leads to kids in classes that they are too smart for stuck playing with their hair and waiting for everyone to catch up to the made up “norm” while they waste an hour or so. On the opposite end, these programs don’t allow students to think not being good at something is ok and they struggle to what they think should be easy.

It’s more than acceptable to not do well in something, but public school forces the idea that you are good at everything or bad at everything down our throats. Thus we lead to the most vile and nasty issue students have, thinking grades are everything. These programs make students think that if they have a D in english they must suck at english and have no hopes of pursuing a career.

The fact is, this isn’t the case. While good grades are a great thing, they don’t determine your intelligence anymore than Buzzfeed can tell how great of a kisser you are based off your favorite Disney character. When students have this idea that grades are what matter in life, they lose their chance to be kids, going to concerts and losing their voice to their favorite band, enjoying a care-free day and relaxing, all of the things that make the time before we are adults fun are lost.

What’s more repulsive is that students get so invested in to their grades that they become ill because they are staying up till four in the morning studying for an exam, skipping breakfast because they need need all the time in the world to study, then missing lunch because they are so nervous they feel physically ill. Finally they get the grade back and if it’s not they want they beat themselves up, they cry, call themselves stupid, go home and won’t eat.

School’s have put such a high standard to be the best at anything that it’s making kids think that school is one all be all for determining who you are, the fact is, grades are nothing more than your ability to follow mundane directions and turn in stuff on time.

I was told as a kid that I wouldn’t amount to anything, I’d be a C or D students because I didn’t do stellar in elementary school, now I’m the exact opposite and have A’s and B’s in honors classes, and in the subject I thought I could never accel in, I want to pursue as a career, writing.

I’ve seen the most bright and genius kids in normal classes just because they didn’t turn in the color sheet for math, and I’ve seen some of the worst kids in AP classes cheating and lying through their courses.

The matter of the fact is, we need to teach kids to what they accel in, treat each kid as the individual they are, not some product off an assembly line that needs to meet a checklist of needs to pass. Until then, all we are doing is forcing kids to do busy work and watch them struggle because it isn’t their strong suit, or watch the kid who knows this blow past the work.