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Published in Print: October 10, 2001, as State Group: ESEA Bills 'Seriously Flawed'

State Group: ESEA Bills 'Seriously Flawed'

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Following are excerpts from a Sept. 26 letter the National Conference of State Legislatures sent to Congress, criticizing various aspects of pending legislation to reauthorize the Elementary and Secondary Education Act.

"We write to express the concerns of America's state legislatures regarding both the House and Senate versions of the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act. After careful review, we have reluctantly come to the conclusion that critical parts of both S1 and HR1 are seriously and perhaps irreparably flawed."

"The testing requirement at the heart of both bills is an egregious example of a top-down, one-size-fits-all federal reform. There is no compelling or convincing argument that an effective accountability system must include annual testing in multiple subjects."

"The requirement to use a standardized statewide testing instrument ignores successful state accountability systems that use a combination of state and local testing."

"We commend the spirit and dedication of the president and members and leaders of Congress who worked diligently to pass HR1 and S1. ... The goals, concepts, and issues raised in the legislation are inarguably important and have been discussed and addressed in many of the states. However, in this case we feel that expediency has triumphed over good policy."

"State budgets, particularly those dependent on sales taxes, are reeling from the recent economic downturn. ...We fear that compliance with the federal mandates may be undercut unless states severely reduce other vital areas of their budgets."

Vol. 21, Issue 6, Page 31

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