The No. 2 official in the U.S. Department of Education told Virginia officials last week to enforce testing requirements for English-language learners under the No Child Left Behind Act, or the federal government will crack down on the state.
Deputy Secretary of Education Raymond J. Simon said in a Jan. 31 letter to Virginia’s superintendent of public instruction, Billy K. Cannaday Jr., that he was “greatly distressed to hear that some of Virginia’s districts voted on resolutions that may cause them to be out of compliance with certain assessment requirements” of the NCLB law. School boards in Fairfax County, Prince William County, and Harrisonburg, Va., have passed resolutions saying they will not give some beginning English-learners the state’s regular reading test, as federal officials require. (“Tussle Over English-Language Learners,” Jan. 31, 2007.)
Mr. Simon wrote that if Virginia officials failed to take “appropriate action, this department may take enforcement action against the state.”
“We don’t see any actions we need to take at this point,” Charles B. Pyle, the director of communications for the Virginia Department of Education, said in an interview last week. He said Virginia school districts are not out of compliance with the law because they don’t test students until spring.
A version of this article appeared in the February 07, 2007 edition of Education Week