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Tuesday, March 18, 2008

No Child Left Behind; Is It Working?

Education plays a crucial role in securing a successful job today.  The days of going out and getting a job without prior training are gone, as minimum wage jobs are not enough to survive in today's world.  Bush has passed a bill called "No Child Left Behind" (NCLB), which is to help all students receive a better education while in secondary school and to prepare them for a college.  The plan is to increase accountability for student performance.  At the same time, everyone got the perception that if every child can learn, then every student should attend a four year university.  There are reports that show that this bill, is in fact, working. 

Many studies have shown that four-year degrees are a good investment.  In fact, I am a big advocate of education, as I would encourage all students to pursue a bachelor degree.  Students that attend college and obtain at least a bachelor degree have a much greater chance of succeeding in their careers and more doors are open for these individuals. 
Again, I comment those that obtain at least a bachelor degree.  However, the problem is with the students that don't.  According to the National Assessment of Vocational Education, they report that two-thirds of America's young people do not obtain a four year degree.  This leaves almost 67% of people that do not have a four year degree.  What about these individuals?  What hope do they have of securing a decent and honest living? 
A problem with the (NCLB) is that it has left teachers teaching to "the test." Now how educational is it to teach someone how to take a test? I think teachers need the freedom to teach their students real education and how to survive in the real world.  After teaching three years of high school in Texas I believe the (NCLB) has created a huge gap between those who can and those who can't.  This is leading to a higher high school dropout rate.  I think the bill was an excellent idea; however, I don't believe it is working as planned.  What alternative solutions do we have available to help keep students involved with school so they will graduate?
California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger has the right idea to help solve this problem.  Arnold mentions, in an article by Time Magazine, that vocational education is the key to help students’ graduate high school.  Arnold says it this way ""I have talked to many kids who tell me they don't want to go to college, so why graduate?  They don't see an end goal. They can't visualize it."  I agree that technical education is the solution for the gap caused by the (NCLB.)  However, the budget the Bush Administration submitted to Congress earlier this year eliminates all Carl T. Perkins funding for Technical Education and plans to use it for No Child Left Behind.  This will be disastrous if this is pushed though, as it will affect the 67% of students that will not obtain a four year degree. 
In addition to graduating high school, technical education provides many career paths for students to choose from.  These careers are for people that may not feel like sitting behind a desk doing paperwork or talking on the phone the rest of their life.  These hands-on careers offer jobs that are high-skilled and high-tech, which offer high paying salaries comparable to many occupations requiring a bachelor’s degree.  You can receive the training for these jobs in two years or less in most cases.  This is good news for the individuals that may not feel like sitting in classes for an additional four plus years.  Our economy greatly depends on these jobs as well.  For instance, it's kind of hard to ship a vehicle overseas to be worked on when it is in need of repairs.  We need trained technicians right here that we can depend on to help us with these repairs. 
In conclusion, both four-year degrees and technical degrees are available to ensure success for students.  Our economy depends on both academic bound and technical bound students to survive.  Therefore, we must focus on our large number of students not attending a four year university.  We must not allow these students to fall through the cracks of educations.  We need them to graduate high school and pursue training that is a fit for their individual needs.  We must help them determine what their passion is at younger ages and help them along the determined career pathway.  This is what it is going to take to provide a thriving economy and to ensure that no child is left behind.   What do you think?

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Are you ready to teach the next generation?

Take a look at what's headed your way; if it's not already.

Keeping up is today's challenge.