Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Supreme Court Will Not Hear No Child Left Behind "Unfunded Mandates" Case.

The AP (6/8) reports that "the Supreme Court has turned away a challenge by school districts and teacher unions to the federal No Child Left Behind law." The lawsuit, School District of Pontiac, Mich. v. Duncan, "questioned whether public schools have to comply with requirements of the law if the federal government doesn't pay for them. A federal judge dismissed the lawsuit and a federal appeals court split 8-8, leaving the judge's ruling in place."

Mark Walsh wrote in the Education Week (6/7) "School Law" blog, "It's the end of the line for the National Education Association-backed legal challenge to the No Child Left Behind Act." The lawsuit was backed by "the NEA and nine school districts in Michigan, Texas, and Vermont." Walsh added that "the justices issued no comment in declining the appeal." He notes, however, that seven of the judges from the "US Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit, in Cincinnati" who heard "the case last October" accepted "the NEA's view about the law's 'unfunded mandates' language, giving the union hope that the" Supreme Court "might be interested in taking up the case." Walsh noted that "in a brief filed in May by US Solicitor General Elena Kagan on behalf of Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, Kagan urged the justices not to hear the union's appeal."

Bloomberg News (6/7, Stohr) reported that "the suit aimed to enforce a provision in the 2001 measure that says states and school districts can't be forced to spend their own money implementing the law's testing requirements and other rules." Bacckers of the suit "contended that Congress underfunded" No Child Left Behind "by more than $30 billion from 2002 to 2006