Study: Top young American students stagnate, lose ground; is No Child Left Behind to blame?

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  • dave31 Salt Lake City, UT
    Sept. 23, 2011 12:16 a.m.

    It has been this way for a long, long time. I absolutely coasted in the public schools after I left the ninth grade. I may have amounted to something with just a little more encouragement and intellectual stimulation. This made it much more difficult in college and, subsequently, in graduate school.

  • Go West Taylorsville, UT
    Sept. 22, 2011 10:11 p.m.

    High achievers can stagnate for a lot of reasons. NCLB could be one since the elementary schools mainly focus on math and reading lately. Son't forget that it was co-written by Ted Kennedy. And Bush was just "reaching across the aisle." The politicians meant well, but the NCLB obviously isn't working well because of the many complaints about it across the board.

    Some young people who are high achievers early on have stagnated before NCLB was ever a glint in Ted Kennedy's eye. Take Orson Welles for example. He was labeled a child prodigy and was given much praise, but he seemed to have lost opportunity after "Citizen Kane," age 25, and went down hill from there. I still think he was a genius afterwards.

    And some smart kids don't want to be labeled "nerds," so peer pressure could dumb them down.

    I think the main reason is the current educational model for public school does not and cannot focus on the individual student.

    That's where the digital age comes in--online school anyone--with high parent involvement. That seems to be successful in the 21st century.

  • twinkleberry67 Layton, UT
    Sept. 22, 2011 9:19 p.m.

    Considering the fact that each childs needs are going to be infinitely diverse and unique, NCLB is a dismal failure in my opinion. Yes it is a noble desire to want to ensure that the slower childrens needs are met, but when the needs of the rest and even those who need to be in an accelerated program dont get their needs met, they are left behindbut at what cost? The world is overflowing with people who are of above average intelligence who engage in destructive behavior because they are bored(among other reasons, but I will not go there for the sake of this argument). I find it a tragic reality that the needs that are considered the most politically correct are the (in most cases) the only ones met. I posit the NCLB was nothing more than a pendulum swing to the opposite side.

  • owlmaster2 Kaysville, UT
    Sept. 22, 2011 3:33 p.m.

    I only have on brief statement that I stole but don't know who to give credit to.

    "Those who can TEACH, those who can't, make laws about teaching.

  • rnoble Pendleton, OR
    Sept. 22, 2011 1:42 p.m.

    basic skills should be available and encouraged and mastered by everyone and our schools should be held accountable for those specific skills---however the idea that all will be able to master everything is laughable---NCLB does not differentiate between basic skills/knowledge and additional information/interests---

    our schools should be encouraging alternate tracks of education based on interest and performance starting around 10 or 12 years of age---early work should concentrate on mastering motor skills of writing(including typing/penmanship), basic functions of math(+-*/ and problem solving), and reading for content and analysis---in these early years there should be an introduction to various education paths and societal responsibilities invoked by different career paths(ethics)---in the transition period between basic education(about fifth grade) and career path education(about ninth grade) the widest possible knowledge of the world should be introduced to stimulate/determine interest for following any specific education/career track---all the tracks should continue to include but, not master, portions of all the others to provide context and appreciation for others choices/skills---this would allow those high-flyers to have the same relative success as those slower and less capable---

  • EJM Herriman, UT
    Sept. 22, 2011 1:37 p.m.

    Joe Moe: thank you. On the money. So why is it that our legislative leaders want to find that easy analysis and point fingers at education leaders as to what we are doing wrong, and what we should be doing right? Because it is easier as a politician to create fear in the voting marketplace for votes rather than to honestly say "I don't have all the answers but am willing to help find those answers with people in the trenches". Again, my two starting points for discussion are: Ending social promotion in all elementary and middle school levels. And second, only those students with an 80% attendance rate and above should be tested and have those test scores used to help rate the effectiveness of a particular teacher. And, those test scores are only one standard of many used to judge that teacher.

  • Joe Moe Logan, UT
    Sept. 22, 2011 1:20 p.m.

    So, we can actually "close the gap" by lowering the upper, as much as by uppering the lower. I guess we see the Law of Unintended Consequences raising its ugly head again.

    Education is a messy business, it turns out, and defies any easy analysis. Caveat parentis: be involved in your student's education, provide external learning opportunities. Lots of students excel, have great experiences in school, and are more than ready for college and beyond; but the truth is, our schools have to deal with the "average" and "gap" students. Only the proactive really get ahead.