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Bush Administration Fines Texas

by TChris

Apparently secure in the belief that Texas will forever be a red state, the Bush administration slapped the state for defying the mandates of the administration's signature piece of legislation: No Child Left Behind.

For the last two years, the Texas Education Agency has exceeded the federal cap on how many students with learning disabilities can be exempted from regular state testing, mandated by the act, in favor of an easier exam.

To quash the defiance, Education Secretary Margaret Spellings fined Texas $444,282 yesterday, a relatively small chunk of the state's $1.1 billion allotment of federal education funds, "and a sliver of the state's $33 billion annual public education budget." That letter imposing the fine was released yesterday evening, the administration's favored time for disclosing unpleasant news.

Texas isn't standing alone in its rebellion.

On Tuesday, Utah's Legislature passed a resolution that declares federal education laws subordinate to state policy. Last week, Connecticut officials announced plans to sue the Education Department for the right to disregard federal rules, saying the federal government fails to provide enough money.

A number of school districts, including some in Texas, have already sued the federal government for an alleged breach of its promise to fund the mandates imposed by the law.

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  • Re: Bush Administration Fines Texas (none / 0) (#1)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Sat Apr 23, 2005 at 09:29:25 AM EST
    That't just FINE take more away from the students.

    Re: Bush Administration Fines Texas (none / 0) (#2)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Sat Apr 23, 2005 at 11:05:53 AM EST
    Spellings and Paige are both Texan stooges for repiglicon delusions

    Re: Bush Administration Fines Texas (none / 0) (#3)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Sat Apr 23, 2005 at 11:55:53 AM EST
    No that is not right this fight is with the corrupt syatem of bush\Fox, the only guy standing up against this evil, is Ron Paul, his speeches and statements made Boy Bush and Fox mad as hell. See, representative Ron Paul 14th district of Texas, if paul fight's, I/We, may never take action, isn't that nice? think ideals not propaganda.

    Re: Bush Administration Fines Texas (none / 0) (#4)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Sat Apr 23, 2005 at 02:44:15 PM EST
    Apparently secure in the belief that Texas will forever be a red state
    It's called "gerrymander".

    Re: Bush Administration Fines Texas (none / 0) (#5)
    by jen on Sat Apr 23, 2005 at 04:17:45 PM EST
    I am so confused. The no child left behind act dictates that if your state has too many special needs children you have to what? Hide them? Give them tests they are sure to fail? Kick 'em out of the schools so you have the right numbers?

    Re: Bush Administration Fines Texas (none / 0) (#6)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Sat Apr 23, 2005 at 05:10:22 PM EST
    Jen, why are you so certain that special needs children are "sure to fail" those tests. Please don't confuse "special needs" with stupid. If Texas is educating these children, then there is no need to exempt them from the tests. The real question from all of you should be, "Why isn't Texas educating these children?" But, of course, then you couldn't bash the Bush administration.

    Re: Bush Administration Fines Texas (none / 0) (#7)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Sat Apr 23, 2005 at 05:35:21 PM EST
    The phrase used in the quotes posted by TalkLeft is "learning disabilities", not "special needs". It does seem reasonable that children with learning disabilities might have difficulty learning, and thus keeping up, especially in the earlier grades, regardless of how well they're taught. The only question is the reasonableness of the quota. And, no, I don't think that having a learning disability is the same thing as being stupid. As far as bashing Bush and why Texas might not be educating children, education in Texas became a low priority when George W. Bush became Governor of Texas. Why don't people understand? The policies of the Bush administration, e.g., on education and Social Security, aren't about improving government programs. They're about eliminating them. "No Child Left Behind" is just a means to stop federal funding of education.

    Re: Bush Administration Fines Texas (none / 0) (#8)
    by BigTex on Sat Apr 23, 2005 at 05:44:54 PM EST
    Apparently secure in the belief that Texas will forever be a red state It's called "gerrymander". Allen, how do you gerrymander an election where the entire state gets to vote? What, are they fliying in voters from Nebraska, Wyoming, and other solidly conservative states to vote? Gerrymandering is the drawing of districts to favor a particular political party. It's not possible to gerrymander a state-wide election.

    Re: Bush Administration Fines Texas (none / 0) (#9)
    by jen on Sat Apr 23, 2005 at 06:19:33 PM EST
    Soldier: you are absolutely right, special needs children can include extremely bright kids. My bad. I meant the kids who are not as intelligent as their peers. They might not fail, but doesn't the amount of money schools get depend on overal test scores? Why is Texas being fined for having "too many" learning disabled kids? Each school has as many as they have, why is there some sort of quota? Which brings me back to my question. What is a school supposed to do if the government tells them they have too many learning disabled kids?

    Re: Bush Administration Fines Texas (none / 0) (#10)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Sat Apr 23, 2005 at 06:46:51 PM EST
    Soldier - "If Texas is educating these children, then there is no need to exempt them from the tests." It isn't always realistic to expect that someone with a learning disability can meet the same educational goals as everyone else. For certain individuals, their learning objectives and the pace of their education simply must be different, even if they receive the best possible attention from their schools, parents, and communities. Learning disabilities range from my sister's dyslexia, to various autism spectrum disorders, all the way to Down's syndrome. It's both cruel and ridiculous to ask that all of these be addressed with identical goals in mind. And the Bush administration and congressional Republicans make it even harder to meet their more complex educational needs by refusing to fully fund special education programs, which money the school sometimes has to pull from programs that can enrich the educational experience of all their students. It's a backhanded way of defunding sports, the arts, and other beneficial student activities. And regarding Texas, Bush was governor there for eight years, and Republicans have controlled the state ever since. Anything going on there right now sure the heck can't be pinned on Democrats. BigTex - But you can sure gerrymander the legislative districts to ensure unnaturally large majorities out of proportion to the vote percentages and thereby exert undue influence on the political future of the state in question. I believe that's what was being referred to.

    Re: Bush Administration Fines Texas (none / 0) (#11)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Sat Apr 23, 2005 at 09:33:48 PM EST
    Natasha, traditionally, learning disabled students have been defined as those student who are not reaching there full potential. This is done by comparing their IQ scores to their scores on standardized tests. If a student's scores on the standardized tests are significantly lower than other students in the same IQ range, that student is labeled "learning disabled" and an IEP should be created. About one in eight students fall into this category, to varying degrees. Obviously, that procedure can be criticized. For purposes of "No Child Left Behind", the most severely learning disabled students can be tested by an alternate method. But, claims that one out of every eleven students fall into this category are hard to believe. Personally, I think both political parties are responsible. Remember, when Bush took over the governorship from Richards, one of every three public high school students in Texas was dropping out. Educational problems that large are hard to overcome, even in twelve years. Jen, the reason for the quota is to prevent school districts from only testing their brightest students Parents have a right to know how all the students are progressing, not just the brightest ones. Also, it makes it impossible to compare school districts, if each one excludes a different percentage of students. I will agree that being able to only exclude 1% of the students may be low. California and Florida are in the 2% exclusion range. But, Texas is over four times that high.

    Re: Bush Administration Fines Texas (none / 0) (#12)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Sun Apr 24, 2005 at 12:01:26 AM EST
    BigTex - But you can sure gerrymander the legislative districts to ensure unnaturally large majorities out of proportion to the vote percentages and thereby exert undue influence on the political future of the state in question. I believe that's what was being referred to. You can (though I don't think that was what he was referring to; it's more likely he was taking an ignorant swipe since he was talking in red state terms) However, before you jump to conclusions consider the fact that the Justice department was strict in interpreting minority-majority districting. My home town has 8,000 people split into 4 precincts. The town had to have two of the precincts moved into a minority majority district because the old minority majority district lost population and no longer had enough population to be a district. They had to maintain the district as a minority-majority district, and districts have to be congruous, so my hometown was sacrificed so that a minorty community next to my community. My hometown was sacrificed so the district could be maintained as a minority majority district. That's not the work of gerrymandering to exclude minorities from voting. That's gerrymandering to ensure representation even when population shifts don't require it. You might want to reconsider your position.

    Re: Bush Administration Fines Texas (none / 0) (#13)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Sun Apr 24, 2005 at 12:21:46 AM EST
    it's more likely he was taking an ignorant swipe since he was talking in red state terms
    I live in Texas. I watched some of the effects of the redistricting in the last federal election. Some of the Republican gains in the House of Representatives were due to the redistricting in Texas. Admittedly, Texas is heavily Republican and gerrymandering won't change the overall political position, but it can make you feel like your vote doesn't count as much. It used to be that the federal courts managed drawing the district lines in Texas...

    Re: Bush Administration Fines Texas (none / 0) (#14)
    by BigTex on Sun Apr 24, 2005 at 01:20:34 AM EST
    It used to be that the federal courts managed drawing the district lines in Texas... Sure 15 years ago for 2 years. Since you're from Texas you know that in the 1990 resdictring the democrats did the same thing republicans did in 2000. They couldn't get enough votes to overcome the Hobby rules, so the feds drew the lines. The governor called a special session, so the Hobby Rules couldn't be applied, and forced through redistricting like they wanted. Where was your criticism then?

    Re: Bush Administration Fines Texas (none / 0) (#15)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Sun Apr 24, 2005 at 03:35:06 PM EST
    my 15yo daughter is special needs. the teachers barely make an attempt to teach her. at six weeks test in orchestra she got 100 for watching disney's beauty and the beast movie . the teacher did not let her test anything. she also never learned to read music after 1+1/2 years in orchestra. the teachers here know if they put the kids in special ed they dont have to test them and the school can still retain their exemplary rating.

    Re: Bush Administration Fines Texas (none / 0) (#16)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Sun Apr 24, 2005 at 04:25:44 PM EST
    Vicki, thanks for the post.