Granholm Warns of Unfunded
Mandates in 'No Child' Act
Gongwer News Service,
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Republican and Democratic governors split sharply at this
weekend's National Governors Association meeting over
President George W. Bush's "No Child Left Behind" federal
school funding law that significantly increased education
funding to states in exchange for greater school choice for
Democratic governors, including Governor Jennifer Granholm,
criticized the Bush administration for imposing numerous
mandates in the law without sufficient funding to implement
them. The law has certain standardized testing requirements,
mandates that each state set annual yearly progress standards
and allows pupils to switch schools if their school fails to
meet those standards.
In a closed-door meeting between the governors and U.S.
Education Secretary Roderick Paige, Democratic governors
demanded to know whether the federal government would fully
pay for the mandates called for under the law. Mr. Paige's
answers left Democrats unsatisfied.
"I think a number of us were eager to hear more," Ms. Granholm
The Bush administration is not giving states the funding to
pay for the mandates required under the law despite some
"wonderful rhetoric," Ms. Granholm said.
"All of the testing requirements that are put on the table are
not funded," she said. "The mandates are not funded."
But Republican governors defended Mr. Bush, questioning how
Democrats could criticize considering the tremendous increase
in federal funding for education under the law.
And Mr. Paige said unlike a 1994 federal school funding law,
the "No Child" act has given states funding to help pay for
the testing required.
Connecticut Governor John Rowland, a Republican, said the "No
Child" law has been a success and the funding is fair. The key
to the law's future success: no federal dictates to the
states, he said.
"We're happy to participate in meeting standards as long as we
have the flexibility to do so," he said.