Educators expect No Child Left Behind lawsuits
Nov. 2, 2004 12:00 AM
THERMAL, Calif. - The federal No Child Left Behind Act threatens costly
penalties for schools deemed failing to meet academic standards. In response,
some educators expect a series of lawsuits aimed at avoiding the sanctions.
Since President Bush signed the sweeping education reforms in 2002, the law has
drawn criticism from educators debating its strict performance and test
requirements. The act requires all students to be proficient in reading, writing
and math by 2014.
Parents of children in some failing schools can demand transfers to better
Over the next four years, schools must offer tutoring services, administrators
and teachers can be fired, states can take over districts, and federal funds can
Coachella Valley Unified School District, which includes Oasis Elementary
School, could be among the nation's first to challenge the law. The School Board
is considering suing federal and state governments, claiming the district is
being held to unreachable goals.
"Coachella is the tip of the iceberg," John Perez, president of United Teachers
Los Angeles, said, adding that the law "doesn't take into account things it
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, students at more
than 27,500 schools nationwide - almost 31 percent of all U.S. public schools -
are failing at math and reading.
Last December, Reading School District in Pennsylvania sued over its low
performance rating, arguing its Spanish-speaking students couldn't read the
About two-thirds of the district's 16,000 students are Hispanic; 15 percent have
limited English proficiency.
But, judges ruled that testing in a student's native language is not mandatory,
only required "to the extent that it is practicable to do so."
The district plans