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NCLB Outrages

States Challenge Legality of No Child Law

This journalist should read the research: NCLB implementation costs more than what the Feds send. For starters, he could read Vermont superintendent William Mathis's articles in Phi Delta Kappan.

Fed up with Washington's attempt to control education, Utah is threatening to forgo all federal funding for its schools.

Specifically, it contends the law is unfair because it requires handicapped and learning-disabled children to keep pace with other students.

Utah further asserts that it's wrong to label schools in need of improvement because one subgroup of students fails.

Montana, however, does not have the luxury of rejecting federal dollars. In a state strapped for cash and particularly in Butte federal money is vital.

In Butte, the feds fund nearly all of the special education and Title I (low-income) programs.

Out of the district's $39 million budget, the feds provide about 12 percent, said J.R. Richardson, business manager for the district.

"From those two budgets alone, we pay for a significant number of teachers and monitors. We rely heavily on those budgets to balance things out." Connecticut is also challenging No Child Left Behind, which became law under the Bush Administration. Connecticut contends the law illegally requires states and communities to spend millions more than the federal government provides for test development and school reform programs.

The state expects others to join in the lawsuit.

Montana, as a large rural state, questions the law's requirements for "highly qualified" teachers in every subject area. Rural educators often teach many courses and may not specialize in any one area.

Butte curriculum director Judy Jonart applauds the state's Office of Public Instruction in pleading Montana's case with the law and trying to make changes.

Leslie McCartney, of The Montana Standard

— Leslie McCartney
The Montana Standard


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