Saturday, April 7, 2012

The Children Left Behind

Posted by Nicolas Sakka, ATLANTA, GA -- The No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) was signed into law by President George W. Bush in 2001. Designed to equalize math and reading skills for all children in the U.S. public school system, it required accountability through mandatory testing. Now, a little more than a decade later, the Act is the target of heavy criticism, particularly in light of recent evidence pointing to widespread cheating among teachers andadministrators. But perhaps the Act was doomed from the start -- public schools in more affluent, majority White neighborhoods have always had the advantage over inner-city majority Black schools. The Act never addressed this well-known and well-researched fact, one so evident just by looking at the school buildings and grounds.

Indeed, these buildings and grounds vividly tell the story of unequal educational opportunities, with the affluent suburban schools looking more like country clubs and the poor inner-city schools more like prisons. Then there is the other issue that perhaps the general public is less aware of: the inner-city schools with their lack of resources are far more likely to be closed down, abandoned by district administrators without a second thought to how sending the kids to other resource-strapped schools may lead to overcrowding and other barriers to receiving a quality education.

Nicolas Sakka is a senior majoring in History at Georgia State University. He was just accepted into the GSU Masters of Heritage and Preservation program and will begin next fall. He can be reached at


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