Tuesday, January 25, 2005

The f-word

A new sign that the Ed. Dept. will not be more flexible in the coming year:

Federal officials give no ground on teacher standard ruling

Associated Press

BISMARCK, N.D. - U.S. Department of Education representatives who visited with state officials on Tuesday gave no ground on a December ruling that rejected North Dakota's standards for elementary school teachers.

And further, they continue their counterintuitive strategy of pissing off lawmakers:

Rep. Earl Pomeroy, D-N.D., who did not attend Tuesday's meeting, said he believes the Education Department is hurting North Dakota students rather than helping them.

"Rather than advancing the goal of better schools, I think they're jeopardizing much of the quality education taking place in North Dakota," he said.

He said the fact that middle school teachers now also are being told they do not meet the proper standards "is clear indication of a federal bureaucracy run wild."

Pomeroy said the Education Department is reviewing his contention that under the law, it approved North Dakota's plan for guaranteeing "highly qualified" instructors when it did not reject it within 120 days.

"I think litigation needs to be clearly considered," he said.

Sen. Kent Conrad, D-N.D., said he met with Education Secretary Margaret Spellings and urged her to reverse her department's ruling regarding North Dakota teachers.

"This is exactly what we feared with 'No Child Left Behind' - that Washington wouldn't recognize the flexibility we need in rural states to meet the new 'highly qualified' standards for teachers," he said.

There's the ol' f-word again: flexibility. Doesn't seem to be a lot of it around the Education Department. The Bushies better hope they don't need Conrad or Pomeroy's votes for an expansion of NLCB. Doesn't look like they'd get 'em.


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