Virginia education officials ended a weeks-long showdown with the federal government last week by agreeing to carry out the U.S. Department of Education’s mandate that the schools in the state change how they test beginning English-language learners.
In a Feb. 22 meeting between federal and Virginia education officials, Deputy U.S. Secretary of Education Raymond J. Simon reiterated an earlier threat that the federal government would enforce compliance with the No Child Left Behind Act by withholding federal funds, according to Charles B. Pyle, the director of communications for the Virginia Department of Education. Mr. Pyle said that the deputy secretary spelled out in the meeting that, if Virginia failed to comply, it would stand to lose $2 million in administrative funds, and the 164,000-student Fairfax County school district could lose $17 million.
The Fairfax County school board is one of six school boards in Virginia that have passed resolutions saying they would not comply with a federal mandate that they stop using an English-proficiency test instead of using the regular reading test for students at the lowest levels of proficiency in the language.
A version of this article appeared in the February 28, 2007 edition of Education Week