Friday, January 11, 2008

NEA NCLB Lawsuit Reinstated

Here are some of the latest articles on the Federal Court's decision.

Federal court reinstates lawsuit over NCLB funding.

The New York Times (1/8, A18, Dillon) reports, "A federal appeals court on Monday revived a legal challenge to the federal No Child Left Behind (NCLB) education law, saying that school districts have been justified in complaining that the law required them to pay for testing and other programs without providing sufficient federal money." U.S. Education Secretary Margaret Spellings said in a statement that "the federal government is exploring all legal options available" because "this decision could undermine efforts to improve the education of our nation's children, in particular those students most in need." NEA President Reg Weaver called the decision "a victory for the students of America."

According to the AP (1/8), the suit claims "that the government is imposing unfunded mandates," through the law, "even though the act itself prohibits unfunded mandates." Spellings said the government considers the law "a compact between the states and the federal government, not an unfunded mandate." Though the lawsuit had been dismissed in November, 2005, yesterday's ruling by a three-judge panel will allow it to go forward. The lawsuit was filed by school districts and NEA affiliates in three states, and the NEA "is paying for the appeal."

In a separate article, the AP (1/8, Martin) explains, "The court majority said statutes enacted under the spending clause of the U.S. Constitution must provide clear notice to the states of their liabilities if they accept federal funding under those statutes." The ruling said that NCLB "fails to provide clear notice as to who bears the additional costs of compliance." The plaintiffs contend that the situation amounts to an unfunded mandate. Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal (D) "said the appeals court decision should boost a similar but separate federal lawsuit by the state of Connecticut," which argues that NCLB is "unconstitutional, an unfunded federal mandate costing more than the state received in federal aid."

In the NCLB: ACT II blog for Education Week (1/7), David Hoff wrote, "For the short term, the suit is in the hands of a federal judge in Detroit and the implementation of the law probably won't change much." However, he predicted, "a decision declaring many of NCLB's rules as unfunded mandates could restrict the federal government's power to enforce NCLB's testing and accountability rules."


Anonymous said...

How are we as parents supposed to trust the educational system? When teachers are fixing tests to make their students pass exams due to the “No Child Left Behind” mandate. This is ridiculous. Check out at

Roy Bishop said...

I don't condone any "cheating" when it comes to testing. It's a sad day if, and when, this takes place.

After reading the post, it's important to realize that when you're testing one year's kids to the next year's kids, you can go from passing/failing or failing/ passing pretty easily because you are comparing two different sets of students.

This type of situation is another one of the problems created by NCLB-which the writer is correct to criticize in her posting too.

Check out the research across the country and under this law you will find many schools making it one year and not the next.

Educators have always been against the type of testing imposed by NCLB. They have argued for "Growth Models" and now the Secretary of Education, after 6 years, is finally seeing the light.