Fighting for Common Sense

It’s heartening to see that some school districts are beginning to more openly challenge some of the more unreasonable demands foisted upon them by the No Child Left Behind Act. From the Associated Press (via the Boston Globe):

Va. raps No Child testing rules

RICHMOND, Va. –Officials in some high-immigrant school districts are threatening to defy a federal law that requires all children to take the same reading tests, even those struggling to learn English.

This month, the U.S. Department of Education threatened sanctions against Virginia — including the possibility of withholding funds — if the state doesn’t enforce the provision, which is part of the No Child Left Behind law.

The Virginia Department of Education had sought an exemption for another year, contending that the rule is unfair.

Immigrants who have been in the U.S. a short time “are simply unable to take a test written in English and produce results that are meaningful in any way,” said Donald J. Ford, superintendent of the Harrisonburg city school division.

The federal government denied the state’s request, saying Virginia has known about the act’s guidelines for some time and have had time to prod schools into compliance.

The five-year-old federal law is scheduled to be rewritten this year, and lawmakers have said they will try to change the rules for recent immigrants and special-education students. The aim is to inject more common sense into the law while sticking with its promise to leave no child behind his or her peers. [full text]