It is time to redefine which kids are left behind

Many people have expressed opinions of the No Child Left Behind Act. I have not had my turn, though.


As a mother, not an educator, I believe it is a load of bureaucratic hogwash. At first glance this law sounds wonderful. All children succeeding, all at the same pace, and no one is left out. In the real world, however, no one is on exactly the same page. Some have finished the book; some are at the halfway point; and still others are not past the first page. We all go at our own speed to the best of our ability.

That is the way it is in the real world. That is the way it should be in the education of our children. Unfortunately, it isn't.

No Child Left Behind looks good on paper, but it isn't right for our children. It's as though my child came home with a test paper on which he answered 19 of 20 questions correctly. On his test paper he has an F instead of an A. He failed because he wasn't perfect..

This is the way we treat our schools. They must be perfect or they are failures. They must act as God to make all children achieve 100 percent of the same goals at the same time. That means every child -- the mentally challenged, the academically gifted, the impoverished, the middle class, the overmedicated, the abused, the only child or the child of many, the fatherless, the motherless, the ones without homes. It is an all-or-nothing proposition. Our teachers must be perfect or they are failures. Our children must be perfect or they are failures. It is time to redefine what being left behind really means.

Those who are given the resources to work to the best of their ability are not being left behind, regardless of what any standardized test or government institution says. Parents need to be involved in their child's education. If teaching allows the child to achieve his or her potential, then parents can rest assured that their child is not being left behind. We do not need the government or some law to tell us that. We just need God's gift of common sense.

Cheryl Poole is an Aiken County teacher and mother.