Lawsuit Challenging ‘No Child Left Behind’ Thrown Out
A judge threw out a lawsuit last month that sought to block the No Child Left Behind law, President Bush’s signature education policy.
The National Education Association and school districts in three states had argued that schools should not have to comply with requirements that were not paid for by the federal government.
Chief U.S. District Judge Bernard A. Friedman, based in eastern Michigan, said, “Congress has appropriated significant funding” and has the power to require states to set educational standards in exchange for federal money.
The NEA, a union of 2.7 million members, and often a political adversary of the administration, had filed the suit along with districts in Michigan, Vermont and Bush’s home state of Texas. Ten NEA chapters in those states and Connecticut, Illinois, Indiana, New Hampshire, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Utah also joined the suit.
The school districts had argued that the law is costing them more than they are receiving in federal funding.
The No Child Left Behind law requires states to revise academic standards and develop tests to measure students’ progress annually. If students fail to make progress, the law requires states to take action against school districts.
The lawsuit alleged that there was a gap between federal funding and the cost of complying with the law. Illinois, for example, will spend $15.4 million annually to meet the law’s requirements on curriculum and testing but will receive $13 million a year, the lawsuit said.
Friedman said that the law “cannot reasonably be interpreted to prohibit Congress itself from offering federal funds on the condition that states and school districts comply with the many statutory requirements, such as devising and administering tests, improving test scores and training teachers.”
— Associated Press
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