Sunday, March 06, 2005

California School District Takes On State Over NCLB

The Coachella Valley Unified School District has filed a lawsuit against the State of California. What the suit alleges is that the state is "setting the district up" by requiring that non-English Speakers take state-mandated tests (reading and math) in English and then using the predictably low scores as a reason to label the District as "failing."
The seven-member board voted unanimously Thursday to retain three law firms to file suit challenging the English-only testing of children who speak little or no English. About 82 percent of the largely Hispanic district's 15,000 students speak little or no English.
We are convinced that the district has a point, as it is unfair to test non-English speakers in English and then use those scores against a school's ranking of overall educational effectiveness.

The district's argument is that the criteria used by the State of California to "flunk" a school's educational program is out of step with the federal law. The district is correct in that assessment.

However, if the Coachella Unified School District thinks that the federal bureaucracy might be somewhat easier to placate, then the district might be in need of a little reality check:

"The district had also considered a lawsuit against the federal government over President Bush's No Child Left Behind Act.

"But No Child Left Behind has started to implode itself, so we're letting it run its course to see what happens," Superintendent Foch "Tut" Pensis [yes, it's spelled correctly--EdW] said, referring to protests from state legislatures nationwide demanding fundamental changes in the act.

I don't guess that anyone has told the district of the Bush Administration's plans for expanding NCLB to America's high schools. We think that the folks over in the Coachella Valley are in for a bit of an awakening, especially if the Expanded Version is as under-funded as the Original.

The San Diego Union-Tribune (reg. reqd.) has the whole story here.

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