The country’s biggest teachers’ union is asking states to consider suing the federal government over the “No Child Left Behind” act. Visiting Iowa for a conference, NEA secretary-treasurer Lily Eskelsen said the measure is intrusive and costly, and tries to tell schools how they should test pupils. She says the program has a great name and the rhetoric about the rule is attractive but it’s heavily bureaucratic, “paperwork-ridden” and will costs states a lot to put into effect. Eskelsen says the federal government’s sent only a fraction of the funding needed to cover the cost of all the new testing. She says the states don’t think the mandates can be enforced if the federal government isn’t willing to pay the cost of the new rules. Eskelsen says the NEA will give technical assistance to any states that decide to file a suit. But the head of Iowa’s teachers union doubts this state will be challenging “No Child Left Behind.” John Hieronymus says Iowa’s not as negatively affected as some other states.Heironymous says while the act requires testing, 96-percent of schools here have already been using the Iowa Tests of Basic Skills for years, so we’re not a good test case for challenging the rule. Heironymous says “No Child Left Behind” is costing Iowa money, to be sure…but not as much as it’s costing many other states.
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