Special Education

Suit Says NCLB’s Demands Conflict With Those of IDEA

By Christina A. Samuels — February 15, 2005 1 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

Two Illinois school districts have sued the U.S. Department of Education, claiming that some of the accountability measures of the No Child Left Behind Act should be invalidated because they are in direct conflict with the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act.

The 1,630-student Ottawa High School District 140, the 2,055-student Ottawa Elementary School District 141, and the parents of four students who attend schools in the districts filed the lawsuit in the U.S. District Court in Chicago on Feb. 3. Also named as a defendant was the Illinois state board of education.

Raymond A. Hauser, the lawyer representing the districts, said that the IDEA’S requirement that each special education student have an individualized education plan is contrary to the requirement under the No Child Left Behind law that special education students count as one subgroup whose test results help determine whether a school makes adequate yearly progress, the key measure for holding schools accountable under the law.

Getting a group of students to meet the goal of passing the state test required under the No Child Left Behind law demands a “categorical, systematic plan,” Mr. Hauser said, and that would require educators to adjust students’ IEPs to meet one goal, to the detriment of some children in special education.

“There are some kids who fall into this who are never going to meet state standards,” he said.

First Such Case

The suit asks the court to invalidate the sections of the No Child Left Behind Act that deal with the requirement to test students and the provisions for improvement of schools that do not make adequate yearly progress.

Tom Hutton, a staff lawyer with the National School Boards Association in Alexandria, Va., said the Illinois lawsuit is the first to claim that the No Child Left Behind law is in conflict with the IDEA.

The Illinois state board just received the suit and will be coordinating its response with the state attorney general’s office, said Naomi Velasquez-Greene, a spokeswoman for the board. The federal Education Department has no comment on pending litigation, said Ed Walsh, a department spokesman.

A version of this article appeared in the February 16, 2005 edition of Education Week as Suit Says NCLB’s Demands Conflict With Those of IDEA


This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
From Chaos to Clarity: How to Master EdTech Management and Future-Proof Your Evaluation Processes
The road to a thriving educational technology environment is paved with planning, collaboration, and effective evaluation.
Content provided by Instructure
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Budget & Finance Webinar
Innovative Funding Models: A Deep Dive into Public-Private Partnerships
Discover how innovative funding models drive educational projects forward. Join us for insights into effective PPP implementation.
Content provided by Follett Learning
Budget & Finance Webinar Staffing Schools After ESSER: What School and District Leaders Need to Know
Join our newsroom for insights on investing in critical student support positions as pandemic funds expire.

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

Special Education Explainer A Guide to Special Education Terms
The number of students in special education has increased steadily in the last four decades. Here are some of the common terms used.
7 min read
Glossary abstract concept open book with special education iconography
Vanessa Solis/Education Week + iStock/Getty Images
Special Education The Pros and Cons of AI in Special Education
AI can make special educators' jobs easier by handling paperwork and serving as an adaptive tool. But there are privacy and other concerns.
9 min read
Student being assisted by AI
Nicole Xu for Education Week
Special Education From Our Research Center What Happens for High Schoolers Who Need More Than 4 Years?
Districts work to serve older students longer than four years to plan for a changing career world.
6 min read
Older student facing the city, younger version is being swept away.
Nicole Xu for Education Week
Special Education These Grants Could Help Students With Disabilities Access Jobs, Training
The Ed. Dept. is investing $236 million to help with transitions to careers and post-secondary education.
3 min read
Collage of a woman in a wheelchair on a road leading to a large dollar sign. In the woman's hair is a ghosted photo of hands on a laptop.
Collage by Gina Tomko/Education Week + Getty