Montana ‘At A Point Of No Return’ For No Child Left Behind Compliance

Jul 9, 2011 by

When it comes to education, Montana is stuck between a rock and a hard place.

Faced with potentially losing federal funding after publicly challenging No Child Left Behind’s student performance mandates, Montana’s education chief Denise Juneau is now in discussions with the Department of Education in search of compromise, she told The Huffington Post Friday.

The conflict began after Juneau, Montana’s State Superintendent for Public Instruction, decided she’d had enough of federal policies and incentives that require extensive data collection and reporting, which she said had paralyzed her small office.

In April, she wrote U.S. Secretary of Education



saying she would freeze the state’s targets for proficiency — a move flouting the requirements of No Child Left Behind, the landmark federal education legislation that sets performance benchmarks for public schools across the country.

“We’re a small, state education agency,” said Juneau, who oversees a student population one 10th the size of New York City’s.

The coupling of the information and paperwork associated with NCLB and new education initiatives from the Obama administration, she said, gave her small office a “double duty” for reporting. It stressed the state’s system. “We have some very small schools in our state where it’s difficult to follow the law and collect all the data,” she said. “At some point, there needs to be a halt.”

Her defiance of NCLB’s requirement to keep increasing score targets played out against a political back-and-forth in DC. Obama set the summer as a deadline for a congressional overhaul of NCLB. When Duncan saw congress stalling, he decided to come up with his own workaround, what he called “Plan B”: allow states to request waivers excusing them from certain NCLB requirements in exchange for implementing some of Duncan’s favored reforms. But, as Rep. John Kline (R-Minn) said more than once, Duncan has released few details on the plan since its initial announcement, leaving states waiting for answers.

via Montana ‘At A Point Of No Return’ For No Child Left Behind Compliance.

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