Friday, February 25, 2005

NCLB's bad week just got worse

The Texas Education Commissioner issued a direct challenge to the feds today. She refused to accept the mandated pass/fail levels and let several hundred school districts off the "needs improvement" list. The hang up? Exemptions of special ed students from standardized tests.

Under NCLB, only 1% of special ed kids are exempted from taking the same tests that other students take. Neeley (the Commissioner) exempted 10% which triggered a failing score for over 400 districts, but -- apparently in direct violation of NCLB -- she only counted 80 or so as failing in the scores released by the Texas Education Agency yesterday.

From the Houston Chronicle:

Faced with the prospect of tagging nearly half of the state's school districts with failing grades under the federal accountability system, Texas Education Commissioner Shirley Neeley instead changed the rules to reduce the number of failing schools sixfold.

The move, described by some as a direct challenge to the U.S. Department of Education's enforcement of the controversial No Child Left Behind Act, sets up a potential showdown between Neeley and the Bush administration.

National education observers said Neeley's move makes Texas the first state to outright refuse to follow the law's requirements.

Texas receives more than $1 billion in federal money tied to compliance with No Child Left Behind. Some of that money could be in jeopardy, depending on how federal officials react to Neeley's decision. The TEA released grades Friday.

A showdown between the Texans in Washington and the Texans in Texas?!? Wow, this should be good.

If Spellings backs down, as the Chronicle reports, a dozen or so other states will follow suit and exempt more special ed students from the test. If she doesn't, up to $1 billion could be removed from an education budget in the state of Texas that is already -- because there is no state income tax -- woefully inadequate. Either way, the consequences of Spellings' decisions on this will be significant.


Blogger Polski3 said...

Great! Lets hope Texas sticks to their "guns" Someone has to begin the revolt against the tyrany of NCLB!

11:27 AM  
Anonymous No Child Left Behind Solutions said...

No Child Left Behind Solutions provides a software tool which is used to track teacher assignments, determine NCLB HQ teacher status, audit district and campus NCLB compliance, and generate NCLB reports.

11:19 AM  

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