A broad coalition of 38 civil rights, education reform and business groups sent House education chairman John Kline a scathing letter Wednesday, describing his No Child Left Behind legislation as potentially racist, the Huffington Post reports.

“It undermines the core American value of equal opportunity in education embodied in Brown v. Board of Education,” the groups wrote.

Their letter calls Rep. Kline’s bills a rollback of federal accountability, a return to an era that ignored achievement gaps. The bills would “thrust us back to an earlier time when states could choose to ignore disparities for children of color, low-income students, ELLs [English language learners], and students with disabilities. The results, for these groups of students and for our nation as a whole, were devastating.”

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staff and wire services reports