Wednesday, March 02, 2005

So much for flexibility

The Connecticut Department of Education received word this week that they will not be allowed to test every other year. Secretary Spellings allowed North Dakota some flexibility last month on teacher quality provisions, so the hope was that the Administration was sending a signal that they would be more conciliatory to the wishes of the states. Such, apparently, is not the case.

The big problem here, as usual, is money. The cost of the annual testing regime (itemized here) is over $110 million. The federal government gives Connecticut $70 million. Now, I'm not sure how well I'd perform on a standardized exam, but I'm pretty sure that means that Connecticut is left with a $40 million unfunded mandate. If the feds are going to require the testing, and refuse to accomodate reasonable state requests for modification, they should at least pay for it.

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