Time for Schools to Push Back
Finally, school districts are standing up for themselves. Recently, the New York Times reported that "the nation's largest teachers' union and eight school districts in Michigan, Texas and Vermont sued the Department of Education, accusing it of violating a passage in the law that says states cannot be forced to spend their own money to meet federal requirements."
The law that is being attacked is the wonderfully named, yet woefully under-funded No Child Left Behind Act.
Several school districts are fed up with having to comply with a policy that has very little money to back itself up and is almost entirely concerned with testing.
Schools across the country are being told to comply to a certain set of rules and standards ... rules and standards that require a great deal of money.
However, schools that are falling short not only run the risk of closure, but also get chastised for not spending what little money they have wisely.
The districts involved in the lawsuit have had to spend money out of their own state funds to meet No Child Left Behind's unfunded mandate, some as much as $8 million.
It's money that should have been covered by the federal government.
The Committee on Education and the Workforce stated that last year, Oregon alone "did not get $98 million in public school funding promised by Congress and the president, including $62 million for extra academic support for low-income students, $8 million for critical after-school programs, and $3 million to raise teacher quality."
So in the end, who ends up looking like the bad guy?
Of course we can't blame the Department of Education, standing by with wide-eyed innocence, repeatedly saying, "We just didn't want to leave any kids behind. We didn't know you would need money for that. How can you put a price on a child's education?"
But the truth of the matter is that there is a price on a child's education, and it's pretty expensive. The idealized notion that by sheer will alone, no child will be left behind, is absurd.
It seems these days as though the government and educators have switched roles: Today, educators are more realistic about what they need in order to educate students and the government is suffering from idealism and visions of cost-free education.
Schools are being pushed against the wall, and fortunately, they are refusing to take the fall.
Some of them are beginning to push back.
INDEX OF NCLB OUTRAGES