From America’s Capital to Nigeria’s Classroom: Can the Nigerian education system learn any lesson from the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Act?
The No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Act of 2001was signed into law on January 8, 2002 by the administration of President George W. Bush. The main objectives of the No Child Left Behind Act include making students to attain proficiency (or become better) in reading and mathematics by 2013-2014; enable limited English language students become proficient in English; teachers will be highly qualified by 2005-2006; and students will be educated in safe, drug-free environments. Others include that all schools and districts will be held accountability for failure to meet the testing requirements and standards, to mandate annual testing of students in all 50 States with the objective of improving their test score as well as failure of schools or districts to implement and meet the specific goals will attract some consequences, including closure. The Obama administration introduced The Race to the Top, which is authorized under sections 14005 and 14006 of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA). It seems the administration’s Race to the Top is in support of the main objectives of the NCLB Act. The administration, however, recommended some flexibility in the implementation of the Act and to increase funding for the programs. It is uncertain that the NCLB Act objectives will be achieved by the states and the nation today or in the nearest future given the budget cut in education, among other factors. This paper examines the perspectives of the opponents and the proponents and investigates as to whether the Nigerian education system has any lesson to learn from the Act. It concludes with some policy recommendations.
NCLB: An Instrument of Accountability?
The NCLB Act has elicited relentless debates with some in support of the Act and others against it. This paper reviews the Act from the perspectives of the proponents and the opponents. The major objective of the ‘‘No Child Left Behind Act of 2001’’ is “To close the achievement gap with accountability, flexibility, and choice, so that no child is left behind” (No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 Act, p.1) in the quest of the United States to give its students a high quality education.
The No Child Left Behind Act supporters include the Business Coalition for Excellence in Education as well as the Education Trust. However, two education associations, the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) and the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO), worked closely with the administration and Congress in support of the bill. But they mainly “supported standards-based reform and had worked to enact Goals 2000 and IASA. CCSSO advocated strongly for the authority of the state education agencies to administer the NCLB provisions” but kicked against “the requirements for every-grade testing and the rigid provisions for 100% “proficiency” among other provisions. It is imperative to mention that majority of the education interest groups are in opposition to NCLB. The major opponents include “the National School Boards Association, the American Association of School Administrators, the National Education Association, and the National Conference of State Legislatures”(New York State Department of Education, no/date).
The proponents anchor their argument on the fact it is designed to hold teachers and school administrators solely responsible for the poor performance of students on standardized tests. On the other hand, the opponents appear to argue that teachers should not be solely held responsible for the poor performance of the students. This is because there might be other extraneous factors beyond the control of the teachers responsible for that such as the parents’ academic background and socioeconomic forces.
Like in many other countries, the United States’ education has been confronted by poor academic performances of some of its students in standardized test, which has worsened since its financial and budget deficits crisis struck. Because of the gap, the country is currently struggling to catch up with the Asian world and the high performance of students from the emerging industrialized countries in science, mathematics and technology and performance in standardized tests relative to the higher performance of students from other developed or emerging countries.
That apparently necessitated the adoption of the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Act. Although the intention of the Act is laudable, it has been highly politicized by the politicians on the extreme right ideological spectrum. The proponents and many of ordinary citizens applaud the Act as an essential tool to assess students’ academic performance together with the effectiveness of the teachers’ teaching methods and their competencies and productive capabilities.
The opponents are against using students’ standardized tests scores to determine teachers’ competencies. Some critics think that the NCLB Act has been a disaster; and they believe the Act that has been touted as medicine for the ills of the schools have not been effective. The NCLB objectives are “unrealistic” and thus cannot be achieved. As a result, many schools will be branded a failure; and the low performing schools will be closed, the principal and part of or all the staff dismissed (Ravitch, 2011, p.4).
The opponents argue that closing the schools or converting them into charter schools will improve the quality of education in the country. The opponents backed their claims with the depressing result of the Center for Research on Education Outcomes (CREDO), a national study, conducted by Stanford economist Margaret Raymond (released on June 15, 2009). If CREDO were our index only 17% of the charter schools was said to secure higher math scores than the public schools. And the remaining 83% were either no different or worse than regular public schools. Given the dismal statistics schools with low scores should not be shut down neither should they be transformed into charter schools nor be privatized (Ravitch, 2011, p.6).
The opponents argued persuasively that what will enhance the quality of education in the country is hiring teachers, principals, and supervisors of school districts “whose efforts are enhanced by professional development, a strengthened curriculum, and greater access to resources, better supervision, reduced class size, extra instructional time, and other commonsense changes” (Ravitch, 2011, p.5) in the educational system.
The proponents, however, argue that testing is a part of human life because it is often given to students’ when they apply for admission into higher educational institutions to determine their preparedness for their proposed programs. For instance, those looking for employment in the public or private sector are also tested to determine their suitability for the position. They proponents, therefore, argue that the Act is an accountability system by citing numerous studies to buttress their points (Schneider, 2011).
The proponents argue, in addition, that standardized test has a positive effect on students’ academic performance because it motivates them to study harder to improve their scores in the subject matters being tested (Hoffman, Assaf & Paris, 2001). The proponents also believe that tests help to ensure a consistent and standardized level of education among students in a given state. It also ensure that a teacher use it to use it to monitor their students’ academic progress and to determine the best possible teaching methods to apply to address their deficiencies (Petrilli, 2012). Furthermore, this group argues that standardized test is reliable and therefore an objective tool to measure students’ academic progress; and that students and parents are in support of its rigor (Rivkin, Hanushek & Kain, 2001).
The proponents believe that ‘teaching for testing’ helps to keep teachers accountable for their students’ academic performance and, thus, a good measure of their competence; and the fear that they would be fired for their students’ poor performance could get teachers to become serious with their duties (Darling-Hammond & McCloskey, 2008). It is generally assumed that students work or study if they believe that they know that they will be tested. They recommend that educational leaders should close “bad schools” and weed out unproductive teachers from the education system. They argue that this is the case in the real world where employers often test their workers to determine their productive capabilities and fire those who are unproductive.
The purpose of this paper is to examine the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Act and to investigate whether or not the Nigerian education system has any lesson to learn from it. Thus, the paper seeks to discuss the issues in an attempt to suggest some solutions to policymakers.
The data for this case study were derived from the research and analysis of scholars, analysts and practitioners, government documents and recent newspaper and journal articles. This is to say that the primary method of study was an extensive review of available literature for an in-depth analysis of the problems facing the Nigerian educational system in light of the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Act. The sources of information were carefully evaluated and analyzed to determine their veracity. The educational system of any country is designed to transmit the beliefs, values, attitudes, and norms from one generation to another as well as to train skilled technical manpower to drive and sustain the economy.
Over the years Nigeria has been investing less in education, which is critical to building a viable economy. Yet political leaders think that Nigeria can be transformed into an industrialized society without these necessary preconditions. The political leaders as well as the policy makers in Nigeria appear to be working on their behalf and not for the people’s welfare. Thus, people should check their enthusiasm whenever they make their usual paper promises about increasing funding for education. Developed countries around the globe could not have become what they are today without investing in human capital development.
This paper focuses on the following research questions: Can Nigeria become an industrialized society without functional educational system? Are Nigerians (leaders and followers) making good efforts to resolve the challenges facing the educational system? Can Nigeria meet its national development challenges without copious investments in human capital development?
Holistic Perspective: Opponents and Proponents of the NCLB
This section examines the main issues at stake. As noted earlier, what prompted the promulgation of the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Act in 2002 was the seemingly falling standard of American education relative those of the Asian world and other advanced economies. The policymakers, particularly the proponent of the Act, felt that it was appropriate to give the education system form of ‘performance-enhancer’ to enable the United States’ students to catch up with the rest of the advanced economies in standardized test scores that were rapidly eroding.
The opponents of the Act, however, argue that the objectives of the NCLB cannot be achieved (Ravitch, 2011)-that the little positive data on the high-stakes test generated in some subject areas have been misinterpreted and misused. Those misinterpretations make the proponents to believe that the Act is the medicine to the ills in the education system. They argue that the Act is too burdensome for teachers and the education system, because it has transformed teachers into testing and teaching instructors.
Students, according to the opponents, are no longer taught to increase the scope of their knowledge and empower them with the necessary skills and knowledge to live a productive life after school. Teaching to test is thus not an effective measure of what the students’ know and to determine the teachers’ capabilities. Instead, they vehemently argue that it narrows the teachers’ focus and limits the students’ knowledge (Betts, 2004; Rivkin, Hanushek & Kain, 2000). They argue that the Act burdens some for teachers and the education system because it has transformed teachers into test instructors, as teachers do not have the time any longer to effectively teach student to increase the scope of their knowledge and empower them with skills to live a more productive life after school.
Since teachers’ are forced by the Act to concentrate on coaching students’ on how to increase their scores, creativity has been thrown out of the window because teachers attentions are mirrored on the curriculum solely designed to coach students to become test-taking experts (Rivkin, et al, 2000). According to them with this creativity, critical thinking, resilience, motivation, persistence, curiosity, endurance, reliability, enthusiasm, empathy, self-awareness, self-discipline, leadership, civic-mindedness, courage, compassion, resourcefulness, sense of beauty, sense of wonder, honesty, integrity are not addressed.
They argue that there are numerous factors that influence students’ test scores that the proponents of the Act are not putting into the equation: family income, educational level of parents, poverty, motivation, personal hygiene, and cultural factors as well as how the testes are constructed. Given that fact all these socio-economic factors are beyond the control of teachers and school districts, opponents argue those teachers are unnecessarily being scapegoated for students’ poor performance. This is because the roots of their problems are traced to their socio-economic conditions at home (Hoffman, Assaf & Paris, 2001; Bell & Pavitt, 1995; Hanushek & Kym, 1995).
This writer’s experience as a teacher in the United States shows that they are many students in the system not motivated to come to school and ready to learn, study and do their homework as well as other class assignments. Teachers feel that an essential part of teaching and learning is to motivate the learners into the learning process and the NCL B Act has failed to address this fundamental problem. While it is essential to measure students’ academic progress or their level of achievement as well as teachers competencies it does not seem appropriate, given the extraneous forces noted above, to hold teachers solely responsible for student’s failure. In other words, it does not seem proper to use students test scores to determine their teachers’ competencies. Teaching for testing seems to have prevented teachers’ from teaching students’ to acquire broad academic knowledge that will leave permanent imprints in their hearts and minds.
As the NCLB Act is presently designed, students who are good at memorizing -cramming materials- are perceived under this system smart because of their ability to cram material and produce higher test scores. But cramming materials just to obtain high test score does not appear a good learning strategy because the crammed materials often evaporate immediately after the test. Those students’ who are good at cramming might get higher scores but may not actually know the not know the subject matter. Some of them lack the essential academic skills such as research methods and writing skills that make learning and education meaningful (Robbins, 2012).
Despite the contrary opinion of the “vocal opponents” (Robbins, 2012, p.16) the proponents appear to feign that there is nothing wrong with the Act (Robbin, 2012). In particular, they do not seem to perceive anything unusual in using students’ test scores to determine whether or not teachers are empowering their students’ with relevant skills and knowledge that will enable them to become productive and successful citizens in the real world of work (Schneider, 2011).
The proponents discount the anti-tests argument that teaching for test discourages teachers from performing their duties according to the rules and ethics of the teaching profession and their training. They contend that the NCLB Act is the ultimate ‘medicine’ to the ills in the United States’ educational system (Robbin, 2012).
The Obama Administration: No Child Left Behind or Race to the Top?
In the process to reform the No Child Left Behind Act the President Obama administration introduced the Race to the Top program, which is built on the framework of comprehensive reform across the four education reform areas (Race to the Top-see particularly the purpose, p.1). Since education is a complex system, sustained and lasting instructional improvement in classrooms, schools, local educational agencies (LEAs), and States will not be achieved through piecemeal change. Race to the Top requires that reform occur as part of a comprehensive approach but acknowledges that there is no one path to reform.
States and LEAs need to take into account their local context and design and implement the most effective and innovative approaches that meet their needs. The Race to the Top Annual Performance Report (APR) is a valuable tool that permits the U.S. Department of Education (Department), grantees, and the public to follow grantees’ progress in implementing comprehensive education reform plans and meeting ambitious goals for student outcomes, including increasing student achievement and closing achievement gaps” (Race to the Top-see particularly the purpose, p.1).
The George W. Bush's No Child Left Behind (NCLB) program, as some authors have noted, has firmly “established a strong federal presence in every public school district” (Ravitch, 2011, p.4). They argue that the Secretary of Education in the Obama administration, Arne Duncan, appears to be building on the NCLB Act, which has directed that every student in public school districts would be proficient 100% by 2014 (Ravitch, 2011).
As Duncan (2011, December 2) noted at the National Council for Social Studies Annual Conference, “For too long, we swept performance issues under the rug. We celebrated our success and hid from failure. Let's face it-American has been talking about the achievement gap for decades, but we weren't systematically tracking it until No Child Left Behind. There are many, many problems with that law-but transparency around achievement gaps is not one of them. NCLB has forced a lot of painful but necessary conversations around achievement gaps and I believe we are stronger because of it” (no/page).
As opponents have argued it appears that Arne Duncan has endorsed NCLB. According to Act students in public schools will be subjected to rigorous annual tests and schools and teachers to harsh punishment if they are unable to raise test scores and improve the quality of education. This, in the opinion of opponents, including this writer, is among the drawbacks of the NCLB Act. As that date gets closer it has become obvious that the objective may not be attained by any school in the United States or any other country for that matter (Ravitch, 2011).
The Obama administration has instituted the Race to the Top program (Ravitch, 2011), which critics say may be even more punitive than the NCLB for students, teachers and school districts whose test scores are not racing to the top. The Race to the Top program of the Obama administration has continued to emphasize the “test-based accountability, merit pay, and choice” (Ravitch, 2011, p.5). The opponents seem to argue that it has added to the toxic environment the NCLB has created in the public school system.
As President Barack Obama (2010, March) has assertion in the A Blueprint for Reform that “Every child in America deserves a world-class education” (p.1). But the budget cut in education (that is lack of funding for education) is making it impossible. According to the opponents, neither the NCLB nor the Race to the Top has the medicine to enhance the quality of education in the country. What will do the job, they argue is hiring of competent and well-trained and motivated teachers, principals, and supervisors of school districts.
What the educational system needs are teachers “whose efforts are enhanced by professional development, a strengthened curriculum, and greater access to resources, better supervision, reduced class size, extra instructional time, and other commonsense changes” (Ravitch, 2011, p.5). Because according to Ravitch (2011), “closing a school is no guarantee that what replaces it will be better” (p.8). What will improve the low performing schools is to ensure “that students have access to a rich and balanced curriculum…a strong and well-prepared education profession…not just a steady diet of test preparation and testing” (Ravitch, 2011, p.8).
The opponents argue that if teachers are treated with the respect they deserve like other profession, and if they are prized very highly like every other profession, the system will be able to attract young and well-educated individuals in the teaching profession. The system needs experienced and well-educated individuals (principals and superintendents) with the needed capabilities and competencies to transform the educational system into a real learning community and thus train high quality graduates. The system needs to create effective and efficient programs to turn the poor performing schools around. The opponents argue that it is unprofessional to set unrealistic goals and expect the students, teachers and school districts to achieve them.
NCLB: Any Lesson for Nigerian Education System?
As a teacher in the United States’ school system both at the tertiary and secondary levels, this writer has some misgivings about some parts of the Act, but accepts the general purpose is of good intent, which is to improve the United States’ standard of education. As it has been argued, using student’s standardized test score to measure teachers productive capabilities does not appear an appropriate method without putting the extraneous factors into consideration.
For decades, the Nigerian educational system has been facing numerous problems, including lack of adequate funding, lack of proper motivation for teachers and staff as well as non-availability of teaching and learning materials, cultism and general poor learning and teaching environment (Saint, Hartnett, & Strassner, 2003; Dike, 2002; Eke-Okoro, 1998).
The meager funds being made available for education is apparently being looted by the administrators (and staff at the minister of education) who are supposed to fructify them and nobody seems to be responsible for well-being of the system (Hinchcliffe, 2002; Dike, 2002). A majority of the administrators as well as the policy makers of the educational system are as corrupt as corruption can be. As a result, the educational system is in shambles. The students, particularly those from poor socio-economic background, are struggling on their own. Many of the students from poor families are either behind or have dropped off (Obasi, 2007).
The poor state of education in Nigeria (Dike, 2002) is reflected on the recent mass failure of students in the West African Examination Council (WAEC) or the National Examination Council (NECO) examinations-the two external agencies that test students passing out from secondary schools across the country (Oyadongha, Vanguard, October 13, 2011; Okhamina, Leadership, October 13, 2011). When a part of a system is dysfunctional it affects the facets of the entire system. The poor state of education in Nigeria has affected the policy making apparatus as well as the economy. It has particularly increased the rate of youth unemployment and youth related crime rate. About 87 fake national youth service members were recently arrested in the country. But it appears these fake youth service members have some insiders in the national youth services headquarters working on their behalf (Iroegbu & Chimezie, ThisDay, March 22, 2012).
The general argument in the country for the poor state of education is that the teacher and school administrators are not being held accountable and responsible enough for their duties. The laws governing the system do not seem to be effective. For instance, it is difficult to dismiss a teacher or an administrator from service even if one is caught committing plagiarism or even harassing students. The courts, principals, and vice chancellors as well as the the National University Commission appear complicit in this regard. In particular, the Nigerian court has become bedrock of corruption as the corrupt politicians are known to pervert justice with looted public money. For instance, James Ibori, former governor of Delta state who bought his way through the corrupt court with looted public money public was recently given a-13 year jail sentence by a Southwark Crown Court in London for stealing public fund worth over ┬ú50m -N12.5 billion (BusinessDay, April 17, 2012)
Is there any lesson for Nigerian educational system to learn from this Act? Nothing works in Nigeria as they should. The Nigerian National Assembly does not seem to work to improve the state of the nation and the living conditions of the citizens. Many of the members are in committees in which they know very little or nothing about. For instance, many of them in the powerful education committee do not appear to have a clue about the role of human capital development (education and health) in the well-being of the country. They even unable adopt and adapt educational policies and laws found working in other societies to improve the system.
For instance, what stops the education committee of the Nigerian National Assembly from adopting and adapting the part “the sections of the No Child Left Behind (NCLB)” that is effective to improve the Nigerian educational system with which to hold the schools, teachers, and school administrators responsible for the poor performance of the schools and students?
Although the NCLB has its drawback (it does not seem to be well funded and puts lots of burden on some of the good teachers), it has been able to a certain degree to get school districts in the United States to begin to think very seriously about ways and means to improve students’ academic performances. For instance, the schools that fail to improve their performance after their period has expired should be closed and merged with good performing schools and the schools and teachers in schools that are performing well should be rewarded in cash or kind (Ravitch, 2011). With in-built real competition some of the lousy school may be forced improve. National development means a long-term investment in human capital development (education and health care).
Human Capital Development
A lack of investment in human capital development (education and health) as noted earlier, has led mediocrity and fake scholars in higher education. Ancient and contemporary human resource development and social capital development thinkers (Schumpeter, 1942; Schultz, 1993; & Becker, 1993) have been confronted by the role of human capital development in national development for decades. They recognize the critical role human capital development and physical capital development play in individual worker’s productive capability, the prosperity of a nation as well improving the overall living condition of the people (Hanushek & Kym, 2005; Bell & Pavitt, 1995).
Becker (1993) who is widely known for his work on human capital development observed that human capital theory tends to draw a distinction between general education and specific training. According to Becker (1993) the key focus of human capital theory is how education increases human productivity by improving human knowledge and skills and increases an individual worker’s the productive capacity, future income, and lifetime earnings. Thus, the decades of neglect of education, and particularly science-based and technology education has a far-reaching negative consequence on the well-being of the citizens as well as the pace of nation development. According Becker (1993) general education creates general human capital and technical and vocational education provides specific human capital. In human capital framework the economic prosperity and progress of a nation depends precariously on the stock of its physical and human capital.
No nation can talk about manpower planning, economic growth and development as well as creation of employment to improve the lives of the citizens, without bringing education (formal, non-formal and informal)-teaching and learning- into the equation (Perkins et al 2001). In addition, no nation can talk of being an industrialized society without acquiring technological capabilities (Mohan, 2003, Kim, 1997).
Advanced economies such as the United States, the United Kingdom, and the emerging economies particularly the BRICs (Brazil, Russia, India and China) as well as the “Asian Tigers” could not have become what they are today without copious investment in human capital development (education and health) and social capital development. Even the emerging nations are today investing bountifully in human skills capital (HSK), social capital, and physical capital to spur economic growth and national development (Piazza-Georgi, 2002). As with other African countries (Okonjo-Iweala, Economist-the World in 2013, p.84), Nigeria must invest in Nigeria before it can build a strong economic future.
The problems facing the Nigerian educational system are numerous. They system needs innovative strategies to raise funds and equip the schools with emerging instructional and learning technologies (Viadero, 1997). It also needs to develop better schools and motivate the educators to effectively perform their critical functions of educating the youths who are the leaders of tomorrow. For this to be possible, the country should properly educate the educators to enable to instill integrity into the teaching profession (Zehr, 1997).
As a policy, there should be longer school hours per day and the number of years students’ should spend in school before graduation (Robbins, 2012). Having a three-month long vacation in a country whose economy is under pressure is a waste of time and human resources. Students should be in school during those periods to make up for lost hours of learning during the unending Nigeria’s teachers’ industrial actions. More important, any person (teachers or any other school personnel) found guilty of subverting any school policy should be given an adequate consequence (including dismissal).
Public school employees (teachers and other certificated employees) should intermittently be given some form of academic appraisal to determine their competencies productive capabilities. Towards this, there should be some form of professional development (and not in any form political vendetta or punitive measure) to improve their identified areas of deficiencies. All over the globe university professors and other category of teachers in higher education are appraised objectively by students at the end of every course on their capabilities, preparedness and the effectiveness of their teaching methods. The main purpose of this is mostly to improve their performances.
The university professors and other categories of teachers in Nigeria should likewise be objectively and properly appraised by students on their capabilities, preparedness and teaching methods after each course. But this should not be a means for students to victimize professors who refuse to award them grades they did not earn. Also, public schools should be subjected to some form of rigorous competition by encouraging the establishment of private schools that must properly be regulated to prevent from milking poor parents who are struggling to provide quality alternation education to their children.
It is agreeably the responsibility of the government to train students’ at least to secondary school level. Towards that parents who wish to move their children away from low performing public schools should be encouraged with some form of public assistance. To ensure a fair competition, private schools should open their doors to everyone who meet their entrance or admission requirements irrespective of their financial status. Nigeria cannot achieve sustainable economic growth and development in the nearest future, in spite of all the paper promises, without resolving the crisis in the nation’s education system. High quality education is known to contribute significantly to economic development as well as national development (Perkins et al., 2001; Piazza-Georgi, 2002; Dike, 2002).But high quality education is impossible without investment in education (Dike, 2002).
Improvement in human skills capital (HSK) creates highly skilled individuals who are high productive workers (Becker, 1993). The quality and quantity of human capital available in a country (to produce goods and services to meet the aggregate demand of the citizens) determine the level of economic activities and pace of national development (Perkins et al., 2001, p.319). Thus, to grow a developing economy such as that of Nigeria, the political leaders and policy makers must devote adequate resources to education and wisely target them to meet the educational and nutritional needs of the students and others in the society. This is because investment in human capital development will help to accelerate economic growth by increasing labor productivity and public consumption, all other things being equal.
Although the United States’ NCLB Act may not have the answer to all the problems facing education in the country, it has the potential to tackle a good number of the ills in the education system. Countries with a good pool of high quality of educated and healthy citizens are said to be more likely to have more productive workers. Thus, to produce a good pool of high quality man-power and thus productive workers Nigeria must invest copiously in human capital development (education and health). When the people are empowered with technical and entrepreneur skills, and when the economy is in healthy shape, the peoples will depend less on the government to solve their socioeconomic problems.
Everyone (politicians, parents and educators) often say that they want the graduates of Nigeria’s schools to be creative, think critically and become problem-solvers. But the graduates lack the tools to tackle the problems facing the nation. To make sense of the dismal situation, the policy makers should not create a complex educational system that would be difficult to manage because as the Economist (February18, 2012) has aptly noted “complexity creates loopholes that the shrewd can abuse with impunity” (p.9).
Nigeria needs simple but effective laws to manage the affairs of the nation. But “every system functions the way it is designed to work”. The Nigerian educational system cannot function any differently than the way it is designed and managed. The policy makers should make better laws to guide the education system because the state of the education (Dike, 2002), more often than not, determine the health of the economy, the pace of national development and level of its competitiveness in the global marketplace. Thus, adopting and adapting the essential part of the No Child Left Behind Act has the potential to change for better the future of Nigeria’s educational system and thus the Nigerian economy.
Becker, G.S. (1964). Human capital: A theoretical and empirical analysis, with special reference to education (3rd edition). Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
Bell, M. & Pavitt, K. (1995). “The development of technological capabilities.” Trade, Technology and International Competitiveness (Hague, I. U. editor). Washington, DC: The World Bank.
Betts, J. (2004). “No Child Left Behind?” Economics in Action, Fall/Winter, p.1. Retrieved from http://economics.ucsd.edu/events/newsletters/econ_in_action_Fall2004.pdf, on June 30, 2012.
BusinessDay (2012). “Ibori jailed for 13 years.” April 17.
Darling-Hammond, L. & McCloskey, L. (2008). “Assessment for learning around the world: What would it mean to be internationally competitive.” Phi Delta Kappan, December, 90 (4), p. 263-272.
Dike, V. E. (2002). “The state of education in Nigeria and the health of the nation.” NESG Economic Indicators, January-March, 8(1), p. 45-50
Duncan, A. (2011, December 2). A well-rounded curriculum in the age of accountability.
Remarks by U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan at National Council for Social Studies Annual Conference. Available @ http://www.ed.gov/news/speeches/well-rounded-curriculum-age-accountability. Retrieved on November 30, 2012.
Eke-Okoro, S.T. (1998). “The vanishing ivory tower.” The Guardian [Nigeria], December 14.
Hanushek, E. and Kym, D. (1995). “Schooling labour forces quality and economic growth.” NBER Working Paper 5399, Cambridge, MA.
Hinchcliffe, K. (2002). “Public expenditure on education in Nigeria: Issues, estimation and some implications.” Abuja: World Bank.
Hoffman, J.V., Assaf, L.C., & Paris, S.G. (2001). “High-stake testing in reading: Today in Texas, tomorrow?” The Reading Teacher (February), 54(5), p.482-492.
Kim, L. (1997). From imitation to innovation: The dynamics of Korea’s technological learning. Boston, MA: Harvard Business School Press.
Iroegbu, S. & Chimezie, G. (2012). “Civil defense parades 87 fake NYSC members.”ThisDay, March 22.
Mohan, R. (2003). Facets of the Indian economy: The NCAER Golden Jubilee lectures. New Delhi, India: Oxford University Press.
New York State Department of Education: Federal Education Policy and the States, 1945-2009-The George W. Bush Years: NCLB - Supporters and Opponents. Available @
http://www.archives.nysed.gov/edpolicy/research/res_essay_bush_gw_suppt_oppnts.shtml. Retrieved on November 30, 2012.
“No Child Left Behind Act of 2001”: Passed into law by the U.S Congress on January. 8, 2002 as “PUBLIC LAW 107–110.”
Obama Administration and the Race to the Top. The program is authorized under sections 14005 and 14006 of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA), Section 14005-6, Title XIV, (Public Law 111-5).
Obasi, I.N. (2007). “Review of higher education highlights in 2006 (3). Daily Champion, January 10.
Okhamina, O. (2011).”‘Mass failure in WAEC, NECO, a national embarrassment.’” Leadership, October 13.
Okonjo-Iweala, N. (2013). “Emerging from the frontier.” The Economist-the World in 2013, p.84.
Oyadongha, S. (2011). “Mass failure in WAEC, NECO embarrassing-Sylva.” Vanguard, October 13.
Perkins, D.H., Radelet, S., Snowgrass, D.R., Gillis, M., & Roemer, M. (2001). Economic development (5th edition). New York: W.W. Norton Company.
Petrilli, M. (2012).“The test score hypothesis.” Flypaper (January 31); retrieved from
Piazza-Georgi (2002). “The role of human and social capital in growth: extending our understanding.” Cambridge Journal of Economics, 26, p.461-479.
Ravitch, D. (2011, April). “Dictating to the schools: A look at the effects of the Bush and
Obama administrations on schools.” In Education Digest, pp.4-9
Rivkin, S.G., Hanushek, E.A, & Kain, J.F. (2001, Revised). “Teachers, schools, and academic achievement.” National Bureau of Economic Research Working Paper, No. 6691.
Robbins, L. (2012, Winter). “The embattled teacher.” Peabody Reflector, 80(2), p.15-20.
Saint, W., Hartnett, T.A., & Strassner, E. (2003).”Higher education in Nigeria: A status report.” Higher education policy (16),259-281.
Schneider, M. (2011). “The accountability plateau.” Educationnext (December 15). Retrieved from http://educationnext.org/the-accountability-plateau/, on June 30, 2012.
Schumpeter, J.A. (1942), Capitalism, socialism and democracy. Harper.
Schultz, T.W. (1993). Origins of increasing returns. Oxford: Blackwell.
The Center for Research on Education Outcomes (CREDO) (released June 15, 2009). New Stanford report finds serious quality challenge in national charter school sector. Margaret Raymond, Director of CREDO, Stanford University.
The Economist (2012). “Over-regulated America,” The Economist, February 18, p.9.
U.S. Department of Education (2010, March). A Blueprint for Reform: The Reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act Accelerate achievement. U.S. Department of Education. Available @ http://www2.ed.gov/policy/elsec/leg/blueprint/blueprint.pdf. Retrieved on November 30, 2012.
Viadero, D. (1997). “A tool for learning.” In Technology counts: Schools and reform in the information age.” Education Week, 17(11), p. 12–18.
Zehr, M. A. (1997). “Teaching the teachers.” In Technology counts: Schools and reform in the information age. Education Week, 17(11), p. 24–29.
*Mr. Dike’s most recent book is Leadership without a Moral Purpose: A Critical Analysis of Nigerian Politics and Administration (with emphasis on the Obasanjo Administration, 2003-2007).North Charleston: South Carolina, BookSurge Publishing, 2009.