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Last Updated: 11/20/2017
 

 Article of Interest - NCLBA

Will States Be Left Behind Without Funds for NCLBA?

MIRS, July 25, 2002

 

President George W. BUSH's recently signed “No Child Left Behind” bill will add federal education standards for the first time in U.S. History, but will federal money follow the new mandates being placed on states?

 

That's the question asked Wednesday at the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) annual meeting by NCSL staffer Dave SHREVE to the Federal Budget and Taxation Committee. The answer is still up in the air. The new law requires states to test third-eighth graders in reading, math and (later) science, which federal officials initially thought they could cover with a one-time payment to states of $400 million.

Further study now shows it will take $400 million to develop and administer a nationally required test, with each state guaranteed $3 million and the rest being divvied up depending on a state's size.

 

Shreve said the money for this new mandate has not been appropriated at the federal level, nor has the $20-$100 million per state that will be necessary to develop a computer system to process the throng of data the new federal legislation requires.

 

Six states currently have the capability to keep the test scores of every single student and categorize it by race, gender and family income, among other subsections, as required by the feds. Some states, like Georgia, need to start from scratch.

 

Then there's the “high quality teaching” requirement starting this school year that raises the standards local school districts must use to hire new teachers. More qualified teachers will demand higher salaries, but the federal government has not set aside money for this either, Shreve said.

 

“Some school districts do nothing more than a breath test. They hold a mirror under the nose of the applicant and if there's evidence of breath, they're hired,” Shreve said. “If you raise the standards, it's safe to say you'll have to pay more.”

 

The new law requires state intervention in the case of failing schools. States like Nevada only have one person in its department of education to handle this type of function. With standards set under this legislation, officials there believe it will take 10 staffers. Who will pay those salaries? Where is the money going to come from if schools are not able to meet the expectations set by “No Child Left Behind?”

“At a time when state revenues are crashing like the stock market, how are you going to set aside the resources to meet these new expenditures?” Shreve asked.

 

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