Badgering NCLB

Here (PDF) is the legal analysis behind the potential lawsuit against No Child Left Behind being considered in Wisconsin. It’s worth reading although it’s more of a political exercise than a legal one. The law’s funding is adequate to technically cover the law’s provisions and after some legal wrangling that’s likely where we’ll end up.

Yet such a minimalist approach is counterproductive to the larger goals of the law. As just one example, the Bush Administration is technically providing enough money for the testing provisions. But what’s technically enough and what’s sufficient to do the job right are two different figures, and the Administration’s low-balling makes them complicit in the proliferation of low-quality assessments.

By taking a legal rather than political strategy the law’s opponents only exacerbate this problem. A political debate that generates consensus about the level of resources needed to make the law succeed is a much more productive (and politically useful) dialogue than a legal debate about minimal compliance.

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