Does “No Child Left Behind” Contribute to Obesity?

That’s the question posed in a new working paper by Patricia M. Anderson, Kristin F. Butcher, and Diane Whitmore Schanzenbach. What would the mechanism/s be? “Schools facing increased pressures to produce academic outcomes may reallocate their efforts in ways that have unintended consequences for children’s health. For example, schools may cut back on recess and physical education in favor of increasing time on tested subjects.” Caveats apply, but the scholars find that “schools that were on the margin of passing have about a 0.5 percentage point higher rate of overweight in the following year.”

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  1. Sarah says:

    The idea behind No Child Left Behind is to improve QUALITY of education, not quantity. Good educators should be able to balance all realms of education from physical ed to art to maths without impeding any elements if growth and development inour youth. No Child Left Behind is a failure if we cannot improve upon the quality of education and hold our educators to a higher standard. I think you would be hard pressed to find a correlation between high standards of education and obesity in other countries.

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  2. linda says:

    No Child Left Behind is a testing program. It might work, if: (1) the top down definition of what children need to know and the order they need to know it was correct for real learning; (2) it lead to more and better teachers rather than more administrators and teachers with absolutely no power (prospective teachers have the lowest SATs and high school at most universities, who in this climate of testing and testing and top-down control from adminstrators wants to do this); and (3) teaching to the test actually made teachers present the right in-class exercises for giving children the insights they need (how does testing and hiring more administrators improve the teaching of algebra).

    the whole think is nuts and kind of Soviet Union in approach anyway

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