No Child Left Behind Act: Analytical Essay

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In this essay, a brief description of educational policy is discussed, showing how interested parties collaborate to form a new public policy within education. The various actors within the network are discussed, along with competing interests surrounding these policies. Next, an explanation is given of how policy networks influence democratic governance. This information will be used to draw a conclusion regarding the relationship between democratic governance and policy networks.

Educational policy is continually changing. In 2001, a federal law called the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB), provided money to improve educational assistance for children from a poor background and held schools accountable for how students achieved on annual state assessments. The goal of the No Child Left Behind Act was to improve the test scores of students with economic disadvantages and students with disabilities. With the controversy surrounding NCLB, in 2015 this law was replaced with the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA).

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McCarthy and Soodak (2007) clarify that schools must balance democratic values within a community of equals that protects the rights of all students. Educational policy involves several components such as the State Department of Education, local departments of education, teachers, and parents, while a competing interest is local companies and businesses. The No Child Left Behind Act required schools to report the results of subgroups that highlighted students that were struggling, including graduation rates of subcategories such as students with disabilities. This policy did not protect the rights of all students, therefore, needed to be changed.

Policy networks are composed of organizations that are connected by subsystems that have a mutual dependency requiring them to work together. Networks look at how to proceed to fulfill the needs of the collective which influences democratic governance by deploying these models as assets to society. Through these networks, collaboration allows for some constructive discourse to occur that promotes healthy competitive ideas that can stimulate policy change when used appropriately.

In conclusion, policy networks are used to influence democratic governance by ensuring the needs of the collective are met. These networks can achieve this by ensuring policies are protecting the rights of all. The No Child Left Behind Act did not achieve its goal, but instead put undue attention on specific groups and pressure on schools to perform pressuring teachers to teach to the test only. Networks were then used to create a new law that allowed policymakers the ability to create a law to advocate for children.

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No Child Left Behind Act: Analytical Essay. (2023, October 26). Edubirdie. Retrieved June 12, 2024, from
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