From the CS Monitor, an article about the growing discontent with Bush's No Child Left Behind act. From the article:
In a separate survey, teachers cite compliance with new federal testing requirements as the most serious problem they face - more serious than lack of resources, incompetent administrators, student discipline, and personal safety issues.
"If they do not change that law, it's not if every urban school in Indiana will fail, it's when they'll fail," says Dr. Rose, who is also a consultant to the Indiana Urban Schools Association.
Eight-one [sic] percent of teachers surveyed say that compliance with NCLB is the most serious problem facing them....They also strongly oppose using academic progress of students as measured by test scores to determine whether a teacher is qualified to teach.
My mom has been an elementary school teacher for 25 years and, just this summer, decided to move up to teach 7th grade due to incredibly poor leadership at her old school. From her, I've learned about the impact NCLB has had on her and her classroom, so nothing in this article surprises me. I would highly suggest that if you have young children in public school, or if you know a teacher, ask them what they think of NCLB. Ask them what they think of an unfunded mandate that is costing local schools millions of dollars they don't have in order to meet goals that, in many cases, are all but impossible.
To highlight a point from the last quote: Many of my mom's students in her old school were from what used to be (and likely is still very close to the bottom of the list if not), literally, the poorest community in the US. Many of her students had one parent (or both) and an older sibling(s) in jail, had witnessed violent crime, had parents or guardians that never graduated high school and were involved in minor crime. My mom is a great teacher and she helped a lot of these kis improve, but by the time they reach her in the 5th grade, they've already had 5 years to fall behind their peers in the state and the rest of the nation. It matters little in the eyes of NLCB if she moved them from a 1st grade reading level up to a 3rd grade level in the year she has them. Or, in the case of one kid in the recent past, that she provides the necessary structure and discipline to normalize a kid who the 4th grade teachers described as "the next Jeffrey Dahmer." Based on NCLB, the 45 hours she has past her masters are worthless. Her skill and dedication are worthless. Its all about the points, but frankly, the points don't reflect her ability, or the abilities of many thousands of teachers working in impoverished areas. NCLB needs to be repealed, and a realistic, funded piece of education reform needs to be implemented.