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Blumenthal Appeals No Child Left Behind Suit Dismissal

By ARIELLE LEVIN BECKER | Courant Staff Writer

May 15, 2008

Attorney General Richard Blumenthal on Wednesday appealed a federal judge's dismissal of the state's lawsuit challenging the No Child Left Behind Act, pledging to take the case to the U.S. Supreme Court if necessary.

The lawsuit, filed in 2005, challenged the way the 2002 school reform law is funded. Blumenthal argued that the law imposes costs on the state and towns that violate the act's own prohibition against unfunded mandates.

In 2006, U.S. District Judge Mark R. Kravitz dismissed three of the lawsuit's four counts, ruling that the court's jurisdiction did not cover U.S. Education Secretary Margaret Spellings' denial of Connecticut's request to waive a requirement to test all students in grades 3 through 8.

Last month, Kravitz dismissed the fourth portion of the lawsuit, ruling against the state's contention that Spellings violated administrative procedures in denying Connecticut's proposals to amend the testing program for children with disabilities and those who speak little or no English. In the ruling, Kravitz wrote that the state failed to show that the cost of carrying out the testing program violated the act's unfunded mandates provision.

Blumenthal filed the appeal Wednesday with the U.S. 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals. In a written statement, he said his office would bring the case to the nation's highest court if necessary.

"I am hopeful that the Bush Administration, now on borrowed time, will do the right thing follow the law and eliminate the need for this court battle," he said. "The U.S. Department of Education has reneged in its responsibility to Connecticut students, failing to provide full federal funding to schools."

Representatives for the U.S. Department of Education praised Kravitz's ruling last month, calling it "a resounding victory for children and their families who seek to make a brighter future for themselves through education."

Reprinted with permission of the Hartford Courant. To view other stories on this topic, search the Hartford Courant Archives at http://www.courant.com/archives.
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