Wednesday, April 13, 2005

Virginia must be un-American, too

Virginia was denied a waiver from testing Kindergarten and 1st Grade non-native English speakers. Frankly, I didn't even know that 5 and 6 year olds were subjected to the mandates of NCLB, but apparently they are.

The denial follows closely on the heels of Secretary Spellings' promise to be good:

Less than a week after promising states leeway on some of the more contentious elements of the No Child Left Behind Act, the federal government rejected one of Virginia’s waiver requests.

“This is definitely not what we had hoped for,” said Julie Grimes, a spokeswoman for the Virginia Department of Education. “We had hoped for some flexibility. This is a disappointment.”

Virginia has asked the U.S. Department of Education for about a dozen changes to the way schools are evaluated under the federal education law. Virginia education officials hoped their requests would be accepted, especially because Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings announced last week that states making progress would receive some freedom from the law’s requirements.

Federal officials this week declined Virginia’s request to relax its testing requirements for students in kindergarten and first grade who are learning to speak English.

This fits perfectly in the pattern of Bush's Department of Education: they say they'll play nice, right before they pull out the hammer.


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