No child left behind does not mean teaching for a test. If a school teaches for a test, the school is not good, and will have POOR test scores.
The school should teach WELL, and as a result have good test scores. If students are doing poorly on standardized exams, it is a sign that the school is not teaching the students well.
School should be DIFFICULT, and academically focused. It shouldn’t be so difficult that kids are ripping their brains out with stress and failure, but passing a class should be an accomplishment rather than what happens if you just put in the minimum amount of effort.
Now that I am in college, I see that the students who were rigorously challenged in high school are performing better than the kids who went to easier schools, and are struggling to adjust to the new level.
If a school has students who perform below the standards set by standardized testing, then it is a sign that the school is a poor quality school. Teachers should be evaluated, and students should be evaluated too. I think that instead of trying to water down subject matter and making school “fun”, schools should make education more challenging and rewarding.
Standardized tests are a decent gauge of how well a school is doing. If many kids are failing the high school exit exam and standardized tests, then it is not a sign that the students are victims of a bad test system, but victims of a bad school.