I know that No Child Left Behind (NCLB) is not particularly popular within the gifted education community. The law definitely provides a convenient excuse for districts to divert resources from programs for advanced students -- something many seem to want to do anyway. But given that it's unlikely to be gutted, here's a different question: should science be part of NCLB?
Science teachers claim that, particularly at the elementary school level, schools have decided to spend much less time on science instruction since NCLB focuses on math and reading. On one hand, math and reading are pretty foundational, and lay the groundwork for all other subjects. Schools may be spending less time on science, but there are probably other neglected, important subjects too (like foreign languages, history, civics, etc.) that are losing time because of NCLB. Why just science?
On the other hand, broadening the standards movement to include other important subjects has upsides too, and science is certainly an important one. What is measured gets taught. The only way that some schools will start doing lab experiments with young kids is if they know it matters to their bottom lines and reputations. But will standardized tests actually cover scientific knowledge? Hard to know! I'm curious what readers of this blog think.