Archive for Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Masonic essay contest looks at education

Entries submitted by local students will be entered in state competition

December 28, 2005

Editor's note: Four Tonganoxie High School students were honored recently for the essays they submitted in the local Kansas Masonic Lodge essay contest. And all four entries will be entered in the state's essay contest, where the winner will receive a $4,000 scholarship. The topic of this year's essays were, "How valuable is the concept of the No Child Left Behind Act in public education?"

In Tonganoxie, the first place essay win went to Carina Lara. Second place went to Rachel Bouza, third place to Elizabeth Higbee and honorable mention to Paige Robinson. Carina Lara's essay is printed below.

The quality of school affects us as students and as Americans. We are separated by low expectations and illiteracy. The reason for this paper is to address the No Child Left Behind Act and to inform you that it is viable.

Really, No Child Left Behind is a landmark in education. Every student must make the grade on state-defined education standards and close the achievement gap by the end of the 2013-2014 school year. To achieve this goal, every state has developed ideas on how to make sure every student is learning. If a school does not meet the states' yearly progress requirement for two years, it is labeled as "in need of improvement."

If a school is "in need of improvement" they are given the help, every state has made a promise that it will not avoid when the school is not meeting the needs of every student in that state.

About $23.7 billion in funds for education will be used in this 2005-2006 school year.

A lot of this money is being used to turn around schools in need and to improve teacher quality.

Kansas alone will receive more then $438 million including $173 million just for No Child Left Behind. If the president's budget is approved then the Kansas educational fund will go up $89 million.

This law means that more testing between third grade and eighth grade will take place. No Child Left Behind is making a difference in Kansas. Between 2002 and 2004, fifth-grade reading skills increased by 10 percent, fourth-grade math skills raised by 13 percent, the black to white achievement gap in fifth-grade reading narrowed by 9 percent, and the Hispanic to white achievement gap in fifth grade math decreased by 8 percent. The report showed that 84.6 percent of Olathe students scored better in reading exceeding the state target of 58. No Child Left Behind is helping and improving the Kansas school systems.

In conclusion the No Child Left Behind Act is working by trying and succeeding to raise standards in school districts not only in Kansas, but across the country. It is assisting schools in increased literacy and better test scores. Schools are now there for us students to live up to our full potential while knowing that not only the teachers and community behind us, but the president and everybody who cares enough to put their time and effort in to the No Child Left Behind Act. The No Child Left Behind Act is viable.

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