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Educators "Chalk Up" a Win as No Child Left Behind Comes Up for Renewal

January 24, 2008

Boston, MA –"Chalk up" a win for Massachusetts educators, as the "No Child Left Behind Act" comes up for renewal this year. A federal appeals court sided with the National Education Association earlier this month, ruling that the controversial law violates the Constitution because it requires states and school districts to spend their own money in order to comply with the law.

National Education Association (NEA) Education Policy and Practice Director Joel Packer calls the ruling a big victory.

"It clarifies that Congress has a responsibility, we would argue a legal responsibility, separate from what we would previously argue was a moral responsibility, to fund the requirements of this law."

The NEA also disagrees with the law's emphasis on standardized testing, and the labeling and punishment of schools with lower test scores. Supporters of the law say it has increased accountability for schools and has improved test scores.

Packer says if another, similar law is passed, the NEA will oppose it. However, he hopes the President will at least request more money for certain programs, like Title One, which funds extra reading and math help for poorer districts.

"He thinks 'No Child Left Behind' is good, and believes it is working. We would hope that he might ask for more money for these programs, or if not, that Congress would be able to provide some significant increases in funding, over his objections if necessary."

The court case now heads back to the lower court, while the "No Child Left Behind Act" is set to expire in September.

Kevin Clay, Public News Service - MA