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NCLB Outrages

OTTAWA: Judge rules against OTHS in NCLB lawsuit

Ohanian Comment: Take a look at the logic here. The state and federal bureaucratic Standardistos say that if a school dumps its administrators and teachers, and brings in experts, then children with special needs can take tests on their chronological grade level. And a federal judge supports this reasoning.

If it wouldn't be so detrimental to the children involved, I would wish that Standardistos and NCLBites could be locked up in a room with children with special needs, a room stuffed only with test prep materials on these children's chronological grade level.

by Melissa Garzanelli

A federal judge did not support Ottawa Township High School's challenge of No Child Left Behind, the school district recently learned.

OTHS Superintendent Tom Jobst said the district has not yet decided whether to appeal the ruling.

In February 2005, OTHS filed a suit objecting to the federal law and Illinois' interpretation of it on the grounds the law is unfair to special needs students and school districts.

Joining in the lawsuit were Ottawa Elementary School District, Streator Elementary School District and Queen Bee School District in DuPage County. Several parents of special needs students also were part of the lawsuit.

Jobst and SES Superintendent Christine Benson declined to comment on the suit, referring all questions to the attorney handling the case.

The suit said NCLB contradicts the Individual with Disabilities Education Act. IDEA mandates school districts teach children at their level of ability, while NCLB states all children must perform at grade level.

The only way to attempt to prepare these students for a standardized test at their grade level would be to alter their individual education plan mandated under IDEA, which is not in the students' best interest, the schools argued.

However, the state and federal government countered that under NCLB, other options are available to prepare these students for the annual standardized test, including changing administration, principals, teaching staff and bringing in experts.

In a written summary judgment, the judge agreed with the governments' arguments.

"I think it's faulty logic," Ray Hauser, attorney for OTHS, said of the ruling, noting that changing a principal is not going to increase a student's IQ from 30 to 100.

If the OTHS board decides to appeal, the next step would be to argue the case before the appellate court. Hauser said the cost of such a battle likely would be the primary factor in determining whether to take that step.

— Melissa Garzanelli
My Web Times


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