NCLB case dismissed

WASHINGTON, D.C. - A lawsuit against the No Child Left Behind Act — brought by the Pontiac School District and others — has been dismissed, though the National Education Association could appeal, Education Week has reported.

After 10 months of deliberation, the 16 judges making up the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit deadlocked on whether NCLB is an "unfunded mandate" which illegally requires school districts to spend their own money to comply with its provisions, according to Education Week.

The inability to reach a majority decision means that a lower court ruling to dismiss the case stands, Education Week reported.

The case, Pontiac School District v. Secretary of the U.S. Department of Education, was filed by Pontiac, eight other Michigan districts and schools in Texas and Vermont, with backing from the NEA, according to the report.

Eight judges agreed at least in part that school districts could not be required to spend local funds to comply with the law; five said that the law clearly outlines the tradeoff between accepting federal money and mandated academic progress, and three judges refused to issue an opinion on the merits of the case. The latter three said that states themselves, not individual districts, were the proper plaintiffs, Education Week reported.

Education Week, "The School Law Blog: Appeals Court Upholds Dismissal of NCLB Suit," Oct. 17, 2009

Michigan Education Digest, "Michigan schools in NCLB lawsuit," Nov. 26, 2008