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."