Federal school law opposition grows in states
Growing state opposition to the federal No Child Left Behind requirements is hardly surprising given the array of people who object to the law's provisions for varying reasons.
Some object to the idea of teachers and students having to meet arbitrary standards in order to teach or graduate. There are also objections to requirements that students at schools that do not meet standards be allowed to transfer to other schools.
Others object to the federal intrusion into the education process and to the government mandates being inadequately funded, forcing additional expenses on the states to achieve the No Child Left Behind goals.
The latest state to join the rebellion against the law was Utah, which voted to reject any requirements of the law that it felt were not adequately funded by the federal government. About a dozen other states, including Arizona, have taken or are considering legislative action against the provisions of the law.
There is nothing wrong with education standards. In fact, schools and teachers do need to be held accountable. But the decisions on the standards cannot be arbitrarily imposed in a one-size-fits-all approach. Communities are different. They have different issues and concerns to deal with which may require their own approaches.
Arbitrary federal requirements provide little or no leeway for such differences. Utah officials, for example, pointed out that the state has difficulty getting teachers of any kind for rural areas, let alone ones that have specialized training in their core teaching areas as required by No Child Left Behind.
Whether the federal government is adequately funding its requirements under the act, as it claims, we do not know. But we do know that federal money always comes with strings and it is therefore seldom a good idea.
We hope the rebellion will spread and bring a reversal of this ill-advised act which attempts to impose the federal will on the education process. This is contrary to the long practice that schools are a state and local responsibility - preferably the more local the better.