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The Theory Behind The No Child Left Behind Law Essay

Custom Student Mr. Teacher ENG 1001-04 20 March 2017

The Theory Behind The No Child Left Behind Law

In 2001, President George Bush signed into law the No Child left Behind Law, which consolidated the US Department of Education’s bilingual and immigrant education programs. The plan focuses on teaching English to student as quickly and effectively as possible. Senators from Utah and Illinois Orrin Hatch, a republican and Richard Durbin, a democrat, proposed the DREAM Act in July 2003.

Under the Senate’s proposed DREAM, which stands for Development, Relief and Education of Alien Minors Act, students who graduate from high school would be eligible for a green card.  There are those who want to reform the way we educate illegal immigrants, saying that the total K-12 school expenditure for illegal immigrants costs the states enough to buy a computer for every junior high student nationwide. The tax dollars that it is costing Americans to pay for educating illegal immigrants is costing American students academically (Impara, 2007).

The history of the No Child Left Behind law goes back to the 1950’s, when the discriminatory environment derived from civil rights and immigration issues was unlocked, causing the world to see that human tendencies are to prejudge, discriminate against, and stereotype people based on their ethnic, religious, physical, or cultural characteristics.

In 1954, Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, also called Brown I ruled by Chief Justice Warren, acknowledged learning to be the most significant task of state and local government and “repudiated the separate but equal doctrine”, deciding that “racially segregated schools were inherently unequal” (Cambron-McCabe et al., 2004).  The decision had great impact and important to the civil rights movement. The Supreme Court ruled that school had no place for “separate but equal” status (AARP, LCCR, & Library of Congress 2004).

A year later the Supreme Court decision in Brown II defined how and when school desegregation would be achieved because there was no standard or deadline set in Brown I (Orfield and Eaton, 1996).  The legal precedence of this time caused far reaching social and ideological implications that brought about changes in the 1960’s and beyond. On the other hand, the legal wrangling did not make immigration and civil right issues disappear because of the ambiguity of the legal decisions. The 1960’s brought about race riots all over the U.S., deaths because of race, and more laws that declared discrimination illegal (http://www.cnn.com/EVENTS/1997/mlk/links.html%20).

On January 20, 1964, Vice President Lyndon B. Johnson was sworn into the Presidency, after the sudden death of President John F. Kennedy. As America mourned the death of JFK, President Lyndon B. Johnson placed his hand on the Holy Bible that was being held by his wife and took the oath of office. On that particular day, Lyndon B. Johnson launched his new program called “the Great Society.” The agenda was intended to produce a better quality of life for all Americans (Campbell, 1965).

Reporters knew the Presidency of Lyndon B. Johnson as a “legislative miracle.” In fact, Dick West of the Dallas Morning News wrote, “Mr. Truman couldn’t get started on a civil rights bill, because a rebellious congress passed an immigration law over a veto. Jack Kennedy took one whirl at federal aid to education, and then backed off. Then he tried to get Congress to set up a Department of Housing and Urban Development with Cabinet Status and was turned down in the House 264 to 150.”  On the other hand, West writes that President Johnson was able to get these laws passed exactly the way he wanted them, thus being named “The Congressional Magician” (West, 1965).

President Johnson signed the Civil Rights Act of 1964 on July 2, 1964, during a luncheon honoring late President Abraham Lincoln in the East room of the White House. The bill was about discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex or national origin (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Civil_Rights_Act_of_1964). “The President sat at a small table in the center with racks holding 72 pens, which was an insufficient amount.” He actually used over 100 pens to sign this triumphant bill into law (“Big Audience”, 1964). Robert F. Kennedy sat in the front row, Martin Luther King sat in the second row, and other senators and cabinet members attended (“Big Audience”, 1964).

President Johnson’s speech was “swift but had great emphasis as he called on all Americans to close the springs of racial poison and eliminate the last vestiges of injustice in our beloved America” (“Big Audience”, 1964). The President spoke of the challenge that Lincoln bestowed upon America asking for “preservation of the union, enlargement of liberties for America and for being true to the Declaration of Independence which gives liberty to all.” The speech was a direct challenge for all Americans to ensure that all people including Black American’s will be a part of a “complete and equal” society (Negro Due, 1965).

In 1968, the Supreme Court decision on Green v. County School Board of New Kent County gave the students the option to transfer from a black to a white school. The ruling states, “That schools must dismantle segregated dual systems root and branch and that desegregation must be achieved with respect to facilities, staff, faculty, extra-curricular activities, and transportation.” Because the Southern United States were fighting against the rulings of the Supreme Court because of their dissatisfaction of desegregation the case Alexander v. Holmes County Board of Education in Mississippi ruled that desegregation must be achieved in every district at once (Orfield and Eaton, 1996).

The No Child Left Behind law promotes that multicultural education will decrease if not totally abolish race, ethnic and gender divisions. By helping students achieve the necessary skills and by guiding them they are being prepared in facing the challenges they would soon be encountering. Students are trained to equip themselves with the attitudes needed in order to survive in the real world. However, before such programs can be implemented, a thorough understanding of the real issue at hand must first be achieved. Factors such as demography, social class, funding, quality of educators, student’s cultural backgrounds and public interest should be carefully considered and taken in to account.


AARP, LCCR, & Library of Congress (2004): Save Our History: Voices of Civil Rights. The History Channel: The Hearst Corporation.

Big Audience: Over 200 Guests See Bill Signed (1964, July 3). Dallas Morning News. Section 1 Page 8.

Cambron-McCabe NH, McCarthy MM and Thomas S (2004): Public School Law, 5th Edition. Boston: Pearson Education, Inc.

Campbell M (1965): President Johnson Chosen 1965 Newsmaker of the Year. Dallas Morning News, December 24: Page A12.

Impara JC (2007): 2006 Presidential Address: Errors and Omissions: Some Illustrations From Unpublished Research. Educational Measurement, Issues and Practice, 26(1), 3-8.  Retrieved August 8, 2007, from ProQuest Psychology Journals database. (Document ID: 1228226021).

Negro’s Due Full Rights, Johnson Says. (1965, February 13).Dallas Morning News, Section A Page 1

Orfield G and Eaton S (1996):  Dismantling Desegregation: The Quiet Reversal of Brown vs. Board of Education. New York, NY. The New Press

West D (1965): Johnson’s Legislative Miracle. Dallas Morning News, September 26: Section C Page 2.

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