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Given Choice, Virginia Board Unlikely to Pull Out of NCLB

The Virginia General Assembly has passed a bill that would give the state's board of education the option of leaving NCLB behind.

Virginia's been down this road before. In 2004, it passed a Republican-backed resolution saying it didn't have the money to comply with the law, prompting this statement from then-Secretary of Education Rod Paige. Virginia stuck with the law.

This year, Republicans raised the issue again. Throughout the legislative session, the House pushed a bill that would have required the state board to create a plan to withdraw from NCLB by 2009. Gov. Tim Kaine, a Democrat, opposed it, according to this news story, and the Senate never went along.

The compromise was to let the board of education members decide. They have 416 million reasons to stick with NCLB. That's the number of dollars the state would receive from NCLB programs under President Bush's proposed fiscal 2009 budget proposal. Gov. Kaine probably wouldn't want to forfeit that money because he has plans for universal preK and other programs, as eduflak points out. Board members know that—and that the legislature wouldn't replace lost federal money with state funds.

All Virginia lawmakers are doing is making a political statement that reinforces the assertion by Rep. George Miller, D-Calif., that NCLB is "the most negative brand in America."

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