NCLB showdown heats up in Montana

HELENA, Mont. — The states of Montana, Idaho and South Dakota have informed the U.S. Department of Education that they plan to defy major parts of the No Child Left Behind Act this year, and now the federal government has told Montana to reconsider by Aug. 15 or face the loss of  Title I funds for disadvantaged children, according to Education Week.

Montana Department of Education Superintendent Denise Juneau earlier said her state would freeze proficiency targets at current levels, although NCLB requires all states to continue moving toward 100 percent proficiency by 2014, Education Week reported. Juneau also said, however, that she would not jeopardize Title I funding, according to Education Week.

Similarly, Idaho and South Dakota have said they also plan to freeze performance targets, Education Week reported. South Dakota said it does not have the resources to intervene in the number of schools likely to be designated as in need of improvement if the bar is raised, and Idaho said the current system doesn’t take into account the improvement that schools have made, Education Week reported.

U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan has said that he may grant waivers to states that cannot meet NCLB requirements, but only in exchange for certain reforms, Education Week reported.

Education Week, “Ed. Dept. Warns States It Will Enforce ‘Broken’ NCLB,” July 5, 2011

Michigan Education Digest, “Like many, Michigan Excused from Some NCLB Provisions,” April 26, 2011