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Janine Shamos

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No child left behind - a global myth

I am a South African who has worked in education for many years but in a classroom and my frustration is that we talk about how vital education is and how education is key to the development of all countries, yet education remains unjust and hard to access. How do we, as everyday people, make changes on a country-wide scale? It breaks my heart seeing how deserving children, who work so hard to claw their way out of poverty, are kicked back at every turn.

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Closing Statement from Janine Shamos

The idea of "No child left behind"in terms of education is certainly a touchy subject. The reality is that we in education (policy makers, politicians, and often teachers) are simply not serving the needs of our children. We tell kids that university is a must, that getting a degree is essential - that is not only unfair and impossible to deliver on, but it also doesn't promote the interests, passions and abilities of many of our youth. And when we let down that passion and capability, we are letting down our country's future.

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  • Jul 2 2013: The idea of "no child left behind" holds vastly different meanings for different people. Currently, in the U.S., the (so called) No Child Left Behind law, which is supported by both political parties and many other groups, means that all children will be educated well enough to go to college. That is a fallacy in thought. Not every child will or should go to "college" or "university". It is simply not feasible nor is it necessary.

    However, if your line of thought is to educate every child to their capability, and allow them to seek their own educational opportunities and job in life, then you are better off. We simply don't do enough to help our children and the idea, at least in the United States, that every child should go to college is ludicrous. Access should be increased and opportunities, especially internship type positions, should be increased to provide students with better access to a wide variety of educational opportunities.
  • Jul 2 2013: Offering education chance for everychild in the world should be a global universal goal for everyone of us to pursuite.
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    Jul 2 2013: Everything needs to be shaken up. From the Department of Education, to the parents, the teachers and the kids themselves, South Africa certainly needs a mind-shift - and soon. South Africa doesn't have the same set up as the USA, so we need to look at who can drive change in a meaningful way.
  • Jul 1 2013: Isn't some of this callousness? Isn't some of this limited money?
    Who would be the constituency for really radical change? And I am including changing the role of teachers.
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    Jul 1 2013: Some months ago we had a thread specifically about options for improving access to education in South Africa. The institutional setting in different countries is different and highly relevant when you are talking about best paths to change.

    Perhaps you will find some ideas here: http://www.ted.com/search?cat=ss_all&q=education+Africa

    By the way, when people say NO Child Left Behind, they don't mean that is a description of the status quo anywhere. They mean that what they are aiming for.is for no one to be falling behind at school.

    I am guessing those who invented the current "Race to the Top" motto are pleased with a more positive sounding emphasis- something that sounds more like going for a win rather than not losing.