The U.S. Department of Education has asked a federal court to dismiss Connecticut’s lawsuit challenging the No Child Left Behind Act, arguing that the state cannot accept money for the initiative without also abiding by its requirements.
Filed in U.S. District Court in Hartford on Dec. 2, the motion marks the department’s first legal rebuttal to Connecticut’s attempt, in an August lawsuit, to seek a court order barring the federal government from withholding funds if the state doesn’t follow NCLB testing provisions. (“Connecticut Files Court Challenge to NCLB,” Aug. 31, 2005.)
“States and local school districts that seek federal financial assistance must comply with the conditions that come with that assistance,” write lawyers for the Education Department in arguing for the dismissal.
The motion says the state’s estimates of what it would cost to implement the law’s testing provisions are based on assessment systems that go beyond what the measure requires. The No Child Left Behind law calls for testing in grades 3-8, but Connecticut tests in grades 4, 6, and 8.
In a written statement, state Attorney General Richard Blumenthal said the motion represents a “scorched-earth assault on states’ rights to protect their citizens against arbitrary and capricious federal action.”