Chris Rizo Apr. 30, 2008, 2:44pm
HARTFORD, Conn. (Legal Newsline)-Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal says he will appeal a federal judge's ruling against the state's challenge to the federal No Child Left Behind Law.
"The federal government has grossly underfunded Connecticut's costs under the Act and has mindlessly refused to grant Connecticut waivers or plan amendments to allow it to continue fair testing methods for special-education students and new non-English-speaking students," Blumenthal said in a statement.
U.S. District Judge Mark Kravitz in New Haven ruled that there were no merits to claims by the state that U.S. Education Secretary Margaret Spellings acted arbitrarily when she rejected a request to change testing procedures for children with limited English skills and special needs.
The judge also ruled that there was no evidence that the federal law violates one of its provisions against unfunded mandates. The state argued it would have to pay out if its coffers to comply with the 2002 law's requirements.
The U.S. Education Department called the judge's decision a "resounding victory" for children.
"No Child Left Behind provides parents and educators with the tools they need to measure their children's progress and to ensure their access to the American dream," the department said in a statement.
Blumenthal, a Democrat, said he would appeal this week's ruling to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit.
No Child Left Behind, which is President George W. Bush's signature education accountability initiative, requires schools that receive some measure of federal funding make "adequate yearly progress" on a standardized test each year or after two consecutive years of falling short can lead to sanctions, including funding cuts.
The law is aimed at improving the nation's public school system and bringing all U.S. students up to proficiency by 2014 in math, reading and writing.
Critics of the law, including many Democrats on Capitol Hill, contend that the law is rigid and needs to judge schools on a wider array of criteria than just standardized test scores.
From Legal Newsline: Reach reporter Chris Rizo by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.