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NCLB Outrages

Connecticut Attorney General Is Right To Threaten Lawsuit
Blumenthal is right to threaten lawsuit

It's become clear that state Attorney General Richard Blumenthal's was serious last month when he threatened litigation over the federal government's No Child Left Behind law.

Blumenthal has been in constant communication with the U.S. Department of Education over the controversial law. Blumenthal was essentially seeking for the government to bend the requirements for Connecticut's compliance with No Child Left Behind, taking issue with the financial burden the law puts on the state.

The government's DOE has refused to budge, and Blumenthal is now looking for other states to join him in a lawsuit against the federal government.

The attorney general has called the No Child Left Behind law "inflexible," "unyielding," a "slap in the face," and, because the federal NCLB mandate is unfunded, illegal.

The Connecticut Post agrees with him. While the federal NCLB mandate is a great concept no one can argue against strengthening the quality of education in the nation's schools the fact is the law is far too broad to be effective in many circumstances, including Connecticut's.

Anyone with even an inkling of familiarity with local politics knows that education is one of the major components of most local budgets. For many communities Bridgeport included there is simply no financial wiggle room. What NCLB asks for is to devote millions and millions of more dollars to the state's education system mostly on mandates that are completely superfluous.

One estimate pins the cost for Bridgeport to fund the NCLB mandate at $25 million more than it has or will receive from the state or federal government. According to studies, many other communities in Connecticut would have to pay between $3.8 million and $10.1 million through 2008. And the state has less than three months until September rolls around and NCLB regulations must be met.

And those regulations, while admirable, would do nothing to actually improve a child's education in Connecticut. A major requirement of NCLB is that there be a yearly test which a student is forced to take but Connecticut already has a noted state testing policy, one of the finest in the nation. Simply giving our school children more tests is not going to improve their education. The NCLB law simply has little or no relevance to Connecticut.

And that's exactly why the federal government should give the state some leniency in enforcing this economically bloated mandate. Blumenthal has asked them repeatedly to provide funding for NCLB, and the federal DOE hasn't budged. That makes NCLB an unfunded mandate, which violates federal law. The state's attorney general is strongly encouraged to go forward with his lawsuit until the government realizes its error.

— Editorial
Connecticut Post


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