School funding ‘flex’ vexes lawmakers

Under the proposal, school districts would need to notify state officials how they plan to use federal funds, but they wouldn't need approval.

As Congress weighs several bills designed to overhaul the No Child Left Behind Act, lawmakers are at odds over a proposal to revamp how federal education dollars are spent—including money intended to help underprivileged students.

The State and Local Funding Flexibility Act (H.R. 2445), introduced by House Education and Workforce Committee Chairman John Kline, R-Minn., and supported by Republicans, would give states and school districts the authority to spend federal dollars intended for certain programs on a wide range of other activities authorized under NCLB.

Critics of the bill, including many Democrats, worry the proposal could hurt low-income and minority students, because it means federal Title I money could be diverted for uses that don’t target these populations of students it is intended for.…Read More

Education lawsuit: State expects too much, pays too little

Denver District Judge Sheila Rappaport began hearing arguments yesterday on one of the most provocative education lawsuits in Colorado’s history, Lobato v. State of Colorado, the Huffington Post reports. The lawsuit alleges that the state supplies schools with too little while demanding high standards and specifically violates two clauses of its own constitution: the “Local Control Clause” whereby local school boards retain control over instruction within their districts, and the “Education Clause” that requires the General Assembly of Colorado provide a “thorough and uniform system of free public schools throughout the state, wherein all residents of the state, between the ages of six and twenty-one years, may be educated gratuitously”.

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More states defying federal gov’t on education law

Experts say many districts are feeling pressured to meet the standards to avoid penalties under the law.

At least three states are vowing to ignore the latest requirements under the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) law in an act of defiance against the federal government that demonstrates their growing frustration over an education program they say sets unrealistic benchmarks for schools.

The law sets a goal of having 100 percent of students proficient in math and reading by 2014, but states were allowed to establish how much schools must improve each year. Many states saved the biggest leaps for the final years, anticipating the law would be changed.

But it hasn’t, and states like Idaho, Montana and South Dakota are fed up. They are preparing to reject the latest requirements for determining school progress under the 9-year-old law–even if the move toward noncompliance may put them at risk of losing some federal funding.…Read More