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No Child Left Behind Football

picture of bill signing

This evening, in honor of presidents past and present trying to influence education and of Ted Kennedy, the one who "shepherded" the "bipartisan" No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) through the Senate, I am posting a parody, author unknown. What I'm posting below has made the rounds often by e-mail and on forums and blogs, but it just seemed to be crying out to become a permanent part of my blog archives at this time in our nation's history and here at the beginning of football season.

I read online the transcript of Obama's speech today to school children. I think it's probably vastly different from what he had planned to say before so many parents expressed their concerns about his agenda in doing this speech. He said some very good things that leave me wondering, based on his policies, if he actually believes much of what he said.

picture of banging head on a brick wall

Our son Mark and his wife Katie are teachers in the public school system where they have to deal with the repercussions of NCLB and governmental demands almost on a daily basis and face the frustration of having to spend so much time on peripherals that they often don't have adequate time to do the course preparations they would like to or cover the material that they need to.

If the demands of NCLB were placed on the game of football, here's what it would look like.

No Child Left Behind Football

picture of football goal

1. All teams must make the state playoffs and all MUST win the championship. If a team does not win the championship, they will be on probation until they are the champions, and coaches will be held accountable. If after two years they have not won the championship their footballs and equipment will be taken away UNTIL they do win the championship.

2. All kids will be expected to have the same football skills at the same time, even if they do not have the same conditions or opportunities to practice on their own. NO exceptions will be made for lack of interest in football, a desire to perform athletically, or genetic abilities or disabilities. ALL KIDS WILL PLAY FOOTBALL AT A PROFICIENT LEVEL!

3. Talented players will be asked to workout on their own, without instruction. This is because the coaches will be using all their instructional time with the athletes who aren't interested in football, have limited athletic ability or whose parents don't like football.

4. Games will be played year round, but statistics will be kept only in the 4th, 8th, and 11th game. This will create a New Age of Sports where every school is expected to have the same level of talent and all teams will reach the same minimum goals.

If no child gets ahead, then no child gets left behind.


I know that there are probably as many proponents of NCLB as there are detractors. Do any of you readers have any personal insights to add? Any thoughts on Obama's talk with our nation's school children today?


"The repetition of small efforts will accomplish more than the occasional use of great talents." - Charles H. Spurgeon

=^..^= =^..^=

Everybody repeat after me... "We are all individuals."

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12 Comments on “No Child Left Behind Football”

  1. #1 Judy Curry
    on Sep 8th, 2009 at 9:33 pm

    Bob will get a kick out of NCLBF. Sending along a comment by John Piper on the President’s speech. http://ow.ly/oszD

  2. #2 Sharon B.
    on Sep 9th, 2009 at 8:27 am

    Home school is a great way for kids to be able to work on their own levels. I’m often better in Literature and History, and I can do higher grade levels of work in those subjects. My hardest subject has always been math (ever since I started school at age 4). Mama has always given me extra one-on-one help, and thought outside the box to find ways to help me understand. I’m now in Algebra 2, and finally starting to find it enjoyable.

    That sounds a lot more like “No Child Left Behind” to me.

  3. #3 LeAnne Solt
    on Sep 9th, 2009 at 8:43 am

    Nothing to do with “No Child Left Behind,” but happy Bodacious Bonza Bottler Day!

  4. #4 Michael
    on Sep 9th, 2009 at 9:39 am

    I actually wasn’t bothered by President Obama’s desire to speak to school children. If anything, it came across as arrogant since he wanted to take time from their actual learning to listen to him. I think in the hands of the right teacher a speech such as his would be a great forum to discuss things in a classroom setting.

    Anyway, the parody on NCLB is great. Unfortunately, I am feeling more and more pressure in my school to make things easier and less challenging so that lesser students won’t feel bad and so that they have a better chance of getting scholarships and grants that they probably don’t deserve. Few people are interested in education any more. They just want the grade.

  5. #5 b.j.
    on Sep 9th, 2009 at 11:48 am

    What I found interesting was what Katie Couric said on the news last night when introducing the article about Obama and his speech. “as school starts across the nation, Obama gave school children a pep talk and encouragement today, but even THAT caused controversy in some areas” (remembered as best as I could)

    It was said as if Obama was only being nice and encouraging, and the “radical right wing” will never be happy with whatever he does. I agree, I’m sure it was changed and toned down a lot from what he would have said.

    They went on to show that other presidents have addressed school children without so much controversy (and they showed Reagan). I don’t remember, but I’m guessing Reagan didn’t demand to address school children LIVE without first telling what he was going to talk about. And I think it was a recording broadcast in schools at their discretion and in their timing.

  6. #6 Rob
    on Sep 9th, 2009 at 2:30 pm

    @Judy I hope Bob enjoyed the NCLBF. Good to hear from you! Thanks for the link to Piper’s comments. Obama indeed said some good things for kids to hear. I wish he would give the same talk to many of the kids’ parents about personal responsibility. 🙂

    @Sharon I’ll bet there are very few kids left behind in home schools. Thanks for pointing that out.

    @Thanks, LeAnne! I mentioned that to several of my classes already today. I rarely forget Bonza Bottler Day, but I also rarely do more than remember that it’s Bonza Bottler Day. 🙁 I didn’t even think about it being a Bodacious Bonza Bottler Day!!!

    @Michael You never fail to add interesting perspectives in your comments. Thank you! I am sorry to hear that your school seems to be putting pressure on you to dumb things down. Sad.

    @b.j. From things I read and heard last week, I think it’s pretty safe to say that Obama had other things in mind for his speech that he chose not to say because of the close scrutiny. Fortunately. It’s for sure that he made himself the biggest thing in his speech, with the use of “I” over 60 times. If you didn’t get to look at that article that I linked at the beginning of my post – the link of the words “past and present” – you should. It’s enlightening to note the contrast to the Dems’ reaction to Bush I’s speaking to school kids compared to Obama’s speaking to school kids.

  7. #7 Janet O'Brien
    on Sep 9th, 2009 at 8:59 pm

    My reaction to this speech or the version he was to give earlier is this:
    If all the children in America are going to be so easily persuaded by one speech from the president, then we were already in such a sad state that it really doesn’t matter. However, God still spreads his salt on the earth, and until He takes us home, the president can’t do anything He doesn’t allow. Actually, it won’t be possible even then, because God is in control.

  8. #8 Laura
    on Sep 10th, 2009 at 6:27 pm

    Personally, I wish there was some way that young people who didn’t fit the universal cookie cutter could do other things for their school years than punch classroom “time clocks.” Once upon a time, before the government determined that working was so detrimental to a youth’s health, kids had opportunities to get simple jobs/apprenticeships that could lead to learning a hands-on trade that interested them personally.

    I think that part of the trouble with high schools these days is that so many kids who don’t really want to be there are forced to stay when they could be productive elsewhere. Just because people who have a high school diploma tend to lead more comfortable lives doesn’t mean that if we give everybody one they’ll be just as comfortable. (More likely, the reason for their success in life isn’t the special piece of paper, but rather the gumption they acquired to earn it while their buddies were dropping out.)

    Making everyone stay through high school (they keep talking about raising the compulsory school age) is kind of like educational “inflation” . . . when everybody has a certain level of education, it is the next level up that is seen as valuable as a way for employers to filter job applications.

  9. #9 Rob
    on Sep 10th, 2009 at 8:37 pm

    @Janet Children are very impressionable, especially young ones and especially when it’s their president who is addressing them. I think many were leary of what exactly he was going to be trying to accomplish by this speech to their kids. You have to admit that he certainly is making sure he’s before everyone’s eyes very frequently.

    @Laura That’s an interesting take on things. As a college professor, I have often thought that I’m not sure everyone who goes to college really should be there. I’ve not considered the idea that high school might be too much for some. I agree that finishing a level of education is an important event for any young person. People who don’t finish school often develop a pattern of leaving things unfinished, including marriage, child rearing, etc. Interesting ideas to ponder, for sure.

  10. #10 Laura
    on Sep 11th, 2009 at 8:22 am

    Well, if you think about it, how long was an eighth grade education considered “good enough”? They even had a graduation at that point. My father-in-law was the first in his line to graduate from high school, and it was a really big event. My husband was the first in the same line to graduate from college.

    Back when eighth grade was the norm and high school was really “high” school, students were not promoted until they really knew the material they were supposed to, so the diploma at the end of 8th grade really meant something. When they were done, they had enough math and English to get by in life. Now, even graduating from high school doesn’t guarantee that a student can read and write capably (much less count change at a grocery store checkout!).

    I still use things that I learned in high school: trig is a great way to be able to calculate whether a damaged tree is likely to fall on the house to so it can be removed before it blows over in a storm, and more basic math is handy for switching recipes from one cake pan size & shape to another. But I don’t think that *most* people draw on subjects like that the rest of their lives. They tend to specialize in just the information that they need for their everyday tasks (tax forms and checkbook balancing), discarding the rest.

    In reality, though, I don’t think that the education gurus ever intend to go back to promotion by merit.

    As to your ideas of people habitually leaving things unfinished, I agree 100%. Failure can become a habit . . . and in today’s society, it is increasingly hard for young people to see examples of marriages & families that really work out well that they can use as a pattern. It really gives one the desire to live all the better as salt and light.

  11. #11 Rassmuss
    on Sep 11th, 2009 at 1:22 pm

    Interesting take on the concept, although I’d be lying if I said that I like the No Child Left Behind Act.

  12. #12 Rob
    on Sep 12th, 2009 at 9:57 pm

    @Rassmuss Thanks for stopping by. It’s always nice to have someone share my view on NCLB. I think the football parody really does help point out the absurdities of it all.