NASET News Alert

No Child Left Behind

May 26, 2006

Connecticut Sues Over No Child Left Behind Law

On Monday, August 23, 2005, the state of Connecticut filed a lawsuit in U.S. Disdtrict Court in Hartford against the federal government over the No Child Left Behind Act.  They are the first state to do so since the law's enactment in 2002.  Connecticut makes the claim that the Bush administration has not provided enough money to pay for new testing and programs, and accused the Bush administration of being "rigid, arbitrary and capricious" in the enforcement of its signature education law.....and is seeking relief from a requirement that it scrap its own testing program in favor of one the state says will not help children but will cost millions.  The lawsuit requests a judge to declare that state and local funds cannot be used to meet the goals of the law. 
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It should be noted that as of this News Alert, no formal response to the lawsuit has been issued by the U.S. Department of Education.  However, in April of 2005, Acting Director of Public Affairs DJ Nordquist released the following statement regarding action by Connecticut's attorney general on the state's intent to file a lawsuit on the No Child Left Behind Act:
"The President and Secretary Spellings believe that all children can learn and that schools and districts should be held accountable for the academic achievement of every child. That's why it is very disappointing that officials in Connecticut are spending their time hiring lawyers while Connecticut's students are suffering from one of the largest achievement gaps in the nation?according to Connecticut's own Mastery Test, Hispanic and African American eighth-graders are as high as 40 percentage points behind their white counterparts.

"No Child Left Behind simply asks states to set their own levels of achievement and to measure all students annually to ensure that each and every one?regardless of skin color, sex or where a student lives?is learning. The basis for the state's lawsuit appears to rest on a flawed 'cost study' of the No Child Left Behind Act that creates inflated projections built upon questionable estimates and misallocation of costs.

"This is a sad day for students of Connecticut. Connecticut has received over $750 million in No Child Left Behind federal funds since the law was signed. Instead of addressing the issue at hand, the state has chosen to attack a law that is designed to assist the students most in need?and those whom these funds directly help."

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