No Child Left Behind: Coming to Australia

Posted: June 22, 2009 in Australia, Education, News, Politics
Tags: , , , , ,

The United States of America has the questionable honour of possessing one of the worst educational systems in the developed world.  One of the worst aspects of this system is the policy known as ‘No Child Left Behind’.  At the core of NCLB is the idea that if a school does not perform up to standards then funding to it is reduced.  This, even to the most dense of people, should set off all manner of alarm bells in peoples heads.

Sadly it would seem that the National Curriculum system the Australia Government is working on incorporates the same idea; if a school is unable to get students past certain progress benchmarks then they will get less money from the Government.

There are numerous problems with this:

Reducing funding will in no way assist schools in meeting standard.  It will actually do the exact opposite; lack of money meaning services and support would be the first things on the proverbial chopping block.

Private schools, who have the ability to pick and choose which students enrol at them, will only choose those most likely to succeed.  Students who try hard but never-the-less fail to meet standards shall be forced to attend public school who do not have the right to refuse enrolments.  This can only lead to funding being increased to private schools while public schools are forced to deal with more problematic students with less money.

How can this possibly help students, especially those who need support the most, achieve the best possible success?  The system has clearly not worked in the United States so why would the Australian Government even be considering it?  Why has the Australian Government refused to take proper input/counsel from practicing teaching professionals?

  1. stavros says:

    I think you might be missing another issue (depending on who and how determines if the school has passed the threshold): schools will make exams easier so that students can get higher marks.

    A similar thing happens in some universities where in order to build up their name and credibility, they try to pass at least two/thirds of the students -regardless of how well or bad they did! So that their numbers and success rates look good…

  2. Matt says:

    Oh yes, there’s certainly that.
    In fact, I’ve been trying to find just one positive aspect to an Australian style NCLB policy. So far I have failed to find one.

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