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Anti-NCLB Bills Advance in Arizona and Minnesota

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In my first entry of 2008, I wrote that state legislators were going to put NCLB in their sights. Virginia already has passed a bill that would require the state board to consider opting out of the law, though I predicted that board members would find more than 400 million reasons (aka dollars) to stay with the law.

Now, anti-NCLB bills are moving in Minnesota and Arizona. In Arizona yesterday, the House passed a bill that would require the state to leave NCLB by July 1, 2010. Rep. David Schapira, the Democrat who sponsored the bill, estimates that the state would need to replace $600 million in federal money if the bill is enacted. In Minnesota, the House Finance Committee approved an amendment Tuesday that would require the state to leave NCLB.

In both states, the bill will face hurdles. In Minnesota, Education Commissioner Alice Seagren opposes the bill, according this news report (courtesy of Schools Matter). In Arizona, Rep. Schapira has no specific plan to replace the lost federal money. At some point, someone will ask how the state is going to replace that money. That would be a hard question to answer in Arizona—or just about any other state.

3 Comments

It is a sad state of affairs when the federal government, which arguably has no constitutional right to dictate education policy, can withhold desperately needed funds to schools if they do not comply with an Orwellian education policy that harms children (especially our nation's most vulnerable and at risk children) and is literally destroying public education while diverting many millions to business interests in the name of so-called "failing" public schools.

I think that the state actions demonstrate that the federal government is not/cannot dictating policy. It can and does set compliance standards for receipt of federal funds designed to equalize opportunity in education. States have the option of not participating.

What remains to be seen is whether any states will actually turn away the federal funding stream. But it should be abundantly clear that it is a state decision not to participate--not a federal withholding of funds.

Actually, a part of NCLB does threaten withholding of funds. If military recruiters are not allowed on high school campuses, there is a threat of withheld funds. Wondering for a long
time how that threat was education friendly, perhaps someone can enlighten me.
Tauna, my dittoes to your well chosen words!

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  • Diane/advocate: Actually, a part of NCLB does threaten withholding of funds. read more
  • Margo/Mom: I think that the state actions demonstrate that the federal read more
  • Tauna Rogers: It is a sad state of affairs when the federal read more

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