No Child Left Behind

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According to the US department of education, the No Child Left Behind Act makes schools and school districts accountable for *all of the children in class.
But, some local teachers say the narrow focus on math and literacy doesn't account for other classes that, they say, can often help a student academically but instead are dropped for more classes aimed to help the students pass the test."

Dan Barthel, the band teacher at Hug High School, says he has noticed a pinch among students having to choose music or a class needed to catch up in other classes.

"This year I had one senior in band. Last year I had two."

Andy Kelly, the principal at Hug High School, says high risk schools need extra help.
"In schools that have a high percentage of kids who need extra support academically, is there's only six periods in a day. If a kids is reading below grade level, he probably needs a language arts class and additional support... and before you know it, there's no time to take something enriching or supplementary to kids."

Cheryl Shingler, the music specialist for the Washoe County School District, says all elementary school kids get general music in pre-school through 6th grade.
But, by middle school, music become an elective that doesn't always fit in a schedules because of extra courses needed to pass the test.

"There's lots of wonderful support we can provide to classroom learning. The very act of reading rhythms is very much... helps students track reading in the classroom. So, there's many tie-ins we can do with literacy and certainly in math."

Kelly says the No Child Left Behind Act has such a narrow focus, he says it is forcing everyone to forget that arts has an important place in a child's academic career.
He says upper-to-middle class schools aren't struggling to buy band instruments because they can raise the money needed... and he says they aren't struggling to pass tests either.

"You've got other kids who would benefit just as much from music and the fine arts... who never get exposed to them because they're so focused on passing the math or language proficiency test."