CT has stepped in to call Bush on his brilliant mandated program.
in Connecticut do a lot of testing already, far more than most other
states. Our taxpayers are sagging under the crushing costs of local
education. What we don’t need is a new laundry list of things to do â€”
with no new money to do them,” Rell said.
Yea! What Rell said! CT is on target with schooling. Don’t miss this quote too:
there’s a bully on the playground, it often takes one brave soul to
step forward and stand up to the bully,” said Rep. Andrew Fleischmann.
Ahh. Our Prez associated with a bully. Insert innocent smile here. = )
Conn. Challenges No Child Left Behind Law
By NOREEN GILLESPIE, Associated Press Writer Mon Aug 22, 7:25 PM ET
HARTFORD, Conn. – Connecticut on Monday became the first state to
challenge the No Child Left Behind law in court, arguing that the
President Bush’s education law amounts to an unfunded mandate from the federal government.
“Our message today is give up the unfunded mandates, or give us the money,” said Attorney General Richard Blumenthal.
The lawsuit raises the stakes in a heated fight between states and
the Bush administration over the law, and experts say Legislatures
around the country will be watching the case carefully. Experts expect
that states could vote to join the lawsuit or file their own.
The lawsuit argues that No Child Left Behind is illegal because it
requires expensive standardized tests and other school programs that
the government doesn’t pay for. It asks a federal judge to declare that
state and local money cannot be used to meet the law’s goals.
U.S. Education Secretary
Margaret Spellings has repeatedly denied requests from Connecticut for more flexibility.
“Unfortunately, this lawsuit sends the wrong message to students,
educators and parents,” said Susan Aspey, a department spokeswoman.
“The funds have been provided for testing, but Connecticut apparently
wants to keep those funds without using them as intended.”
The cornerstone of the law is standardized testing â€” something that
Connecticut currently conducts in grades four, six and eight. But under
No Child Left Behind, the state is required to start testing children
in grades three, five and seven this school year.
State education officials say that they already know that minority
and poor children don’t perform as well as their wealthy, white peers,
and that additional tests aren’t going to tell them more.
Education Commissioner Betty Sternberg said the state has every
intention of complying with the law while the court decides the merits
of the case.
“I think that we’re at the point where we can’t do these discussions
anymore on the phone or in the conference room,” said Sternberg. “We
really are at the point where they need to be worked out in a different
venue, and that’s in the court.”
Republican Gov. M. Jodi Rell, who for months urged the state to
settle its differences through negotiation, recently joined the chorus
of state teachers, superintendents, lawmakers and parents voicing
support for the lawsuit.
“We in Connecticut do a lot of testing already, far more than most
other states. Our taxpayers are sagging under the crushing costs of
local education. What we don’t need is a new laundry list of things to
do â€” with no new money to do them,” Rell said.
The federal government is providing Connecticut with $5.8 million
this fiscal year to pay for the testing, Sternberg said. She estimates
federal funds will fall $41.6 million short of paying for staffing,
program development, standardized tests and other costs associated with
implementing the law through 2008.
The state is not the first entity to sue in response to No Child
Left Behind. The National Education Association, a national teacher’s
union, filed a lawsuit last spring on behalf of local districts and 10
state union chapters, including Connecticut.
“It is an interesting case,” said Jack Jennings, president of the
Washington, D.C.-based Center on Education Policy. “It’s interesting
because a judge has to consider the fact that this is a state that’s
suing. It’s not a school district. It’s not a teacher’s union. It’s the
state of Connecticut. So that adds a lot more gravity to the lawsuit.”
In Utah, the state legislature passed a measure defying the federal
law, and it was signed by Gov. Jon Huntsman on May 2. The law gives
state educational standards priority over the requirements of No Child
Connecticut officials say they will go forward with or without the support of other states.
“If there’s a bully on the playground, it often takes one brave soul
to step forward and stand up to the bully,” said Rep. Andrew
Fleischmann, D-West Hartford, co-chairman of the legislature’s