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Judge Rules in Feds' Favor in Connecticut Case

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Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings has won the latest round in the legal battle over NCLB.

A federal judge ruled in favor of the federal government yesterday in all counts in Connecticut's lawsuit seeking flexibility under NCLB and to have it declared an unfunded mandate. Judge Mark R. Kravitz said that the U.S. Department of Education hadn't overstepped its authority when it rejected the state's application to implement the law.

Because the state hadn't exercised its administrative appeals of those decisions, the judge refused to rule whether NCLB was an unfunded mandate.

"It is truly unfortunate that the court is unable to reach this issue because the state failed adequately to raise it in the context of the state's proposed plan amendments," the judge wrote.

Back in January, a three-judge panel of the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that NCLB is an unfunded mandate. The outcome of that case is pending the appeal. For background on that case, see this post from January.

Here's a copy of the Connecticut ruling. There will be more to come on this blog and edweek.org.

UPDATE: I've received the following statement from Samara Yudof, press secretary at the U.S. Department of Education: "Secretary Spellings is delighted with the judge's decision and emphasized that today's decision is a resounding victory for children and their families who seek to make a brighter future for themselves through education. No Child Left Behind provides parents and educators with the tools they need to measure their children's progress and to ensure their access to the American dream."

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"No Child Left Behind provides parents and educators with the tools they need to measure their children's progress and to ensure their access to the American dream."

As a parent, I'm offended by that statement. NCLB is clearly hurting kids and educators. If representatives of the federal government would make sensible statements, instead of painting little happy faces over real problems, we might have more faith that they are serious about fixing the law so that it truly is an asset to children.

Janet

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