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Spellings to Schools: Comply With NCLB While Courts Debate Mandates

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Even though a federal appeals court believes NCLB is an unfunded mandate, state and local officials should spend their money to comply with the law, Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings says.

In a letter sent to state education chiefs today, Spellings writes that last week's 2-1 decision by a panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit doesn't settle the thorny question of whether states and districts must spend their own money on NCLB requirements. Spellings is "exploring all legal remedies to overturn the decision," she writes. Meanwhile, school officials should plan on meeting all of the law's requirements.

"No state or school district should regard the ruling as license to disregard NCLB's requirements," Spellings concludes.

The next step in the legal process could be in any of several different venues--before the U.S. Supreme Court in Washington, a larger panel of 6th Circuit judges in Cincinnati, or a federal district judge in Detroit. The legal battle is unlikely to be resolved this year.

But the next step in the political arena will be when President Bush proposes his fiscal 2009 budget early next month. And the unfunded mandate debate will go on all year in Congress and on the campaign trail.

BACKGROUND: For earlier Act II posts on this topic, see here, here, and here.

NOTE: The department doesn't have a copy of the letter on its Web site. I'll add a link when it does.

UPDATE: EdWeek's crackerjack Web team posted a copy of Spellings' letter on our server here. Requires Adobe Acrobat Reader

2 Comments

This is absolutely out of hand. Parents need to understand one thing: If one leaves his or her child's education outcome in the sole hands of any government,(local BOEs, State Education Agencies, or USDOE) their child will be constructed to fulfill the societal role that a bureaucracy could produce. A child does not learn for more than one reason, which includes, genetic factors, bilogical, neurological, and environmental elecments that can not be controlled by any system. We have to understand that nobody can truly control what is learned and what is not unless we don white jackets, gloves, and start building institutions where no outside forces can influence the learning environment. Regardless anyone's education outcome, if there are NO jobs to provide a certain quality of lfestyle for our children, then what is the incentive to be educated? Who needs a degree to pick peaches or pecans in Georgia? Who needs a degree to work in a chicken factory? Who needs a degree to yell, maid service? With such a gloomy economic outlook, what is the true incentive to even value education? Some see that no matter how hard their mom or dad work, they never get ahead, and given the "de facto" caste system in America, I can't say that I blame them. THe government talks a good talk, but until we can provide the motives and incentives for our citizenry, no education reform or money will make the difference except those on the top tier making the big bucks to advertise, this will work.

This is absolutely out of hand. Parents need to understand one thing: If one leaves his or her child's education outcome in the sole hands of any government,(local BOEs, State Education Agencies, or USDOE) their child will be constructed to fulfill the societal role that a bureaucracy could produce. A child does not learn for more than one reason, which includes, genetic factors, bilogical, neurological, and environmental elecments that can not be controlled by any system. We have to understand that nobody can truly control what is learned and what is not unless we don white jackets, gloves, and start building institutions where no outside forces can influence the learning environment. Regardless anyone's education outcome, if there are NO jobs to provide a certain quality of lfestyle for our children, then what is the incentive to be educated? Who needs a degree to pick peaches or pecans in Georgia? Who needs a degree to work in a chicken factory? Who needs a degree to yell, maid service? With such a gloomy economic outlook, what is the true incentive to even value education? Some see that no matter how hard their mom or dad work, they never get ahead, and given the "de facto" caste system in America, I can't say that I blame them. THe government talks a good talk, but until we can provide the motives and incentives for our citizenry, no education reform or money will make the difference except those on the top tier making the big bucks to advertise, this will work.

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  • Kathy: This is absolutely out of hand. Parents need to understand read more
  • Kathy: This is absolutely out of hand. Parents need to understand read more

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