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NCLB Outrages

Schools sue over No Child funding

PONTIAC -- The Pontiac School District has joined districts in Texas and Vermont and education associations across the country in a lawsuit filed Wednesday calling on the federal government to fully fund the No Child Left Behind Act.

The suit, filed in U.S. District Court in Detroit by the National Education Association, alleges the federal government has failed to comply with a provision of the law that says school districts are not required to spend their own money on the law's rules and regulations.

The suit also asks the courts to rule that the federal government cannot withhold funds from schools that don't comply with the law because of the funding gap.

"It should be renamed 'Promises Made, Promises Broken,'" said Lu Battaglieri, president of the Michigan Education Association, the state's largest teachers union.

Knetha McCord, a bilingual education teacher in the Pontiac district, said she expects to spend between 50 and 60 classroom hours on testing this school year because of the law.

"The past two years have been the most frustrating of my entire career. There are so many tests I have to give during the school year," she said. "My students are not nearly receiving the time in English they have in the past."

Nationally, school districts have been shortchanged $27 billion -- the difference between the amount Congress authorized and what it has spent -- the suit claims.

Michigan received $276.7 million less than was authorized this year and will receive $445.9 million less in 2006 under President Bush's proposed budget.

The law made sweeping reforms in public education, including implementation of yearly tests to gauge student progress.

The newspaper has an online poll. Here are the (disappointing) results:

Do you support the lawsuit aiming to free schools from complying with any part of the No Child Left Behind act not paid for by the federal government?

Yes 28.27%
No 71.73%

— Joe Menard
Detroit News


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