Tuesday, September 13, 2005

The Spellings Report: Hurricane Katrina's Latest Numbers

Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings gave an interview yesterday to the Associated Press: (emphasis added)
Hurricane Katrina has forced at least 372,000 school children to flee the Gulf Coast, and there are no clear answers yet on where the money will come from to educate these students, Education Secretary Margaret Spellings said Monday.

In an interview with The Associated Press, Spellings gave the most sweeping assessment of how the hurricane has affected the education community just as a new school year begins.

In Louisiana, more than 247,000 public and private school students have been displaced, 489 schools have been closed and at least six parishes have destroyed or damaged buildings.

In Mississippi, more than 125,000 students have been forced elsewhere. A total of 226 schools in 30 districts are closed in that state, and almost 30 schools have been destroyed.

Spellings declined to estimate how much it will cost states to rebuild devastated districts or serve displaced students _ and how much the federal government will cover.

"I shouldn't be talking about the details that I'm in negotiations with the White House and the Hill on," Spellings said. "As soon as I can talk about it, I want to talk about it."

President Bush has charged Spellings to come up with a plan to provide aid for the states, some of which are absorbing an influx of students just as the school year begins.

In the interview, Spellings said she will ask Congress for unprecedented authority to ease aspects of a federal law governing the education of homeless children. She had already pledged to consider using her authority to waive aspects of the law known as No Child Left Behind, such as requirements on yearly testing and teacher quality.
As of now, those aspects of NCLB that are related to testing and the raising of test scores remain in effect for those schools who have accepted evacuees.

Main Page/Latest Posts