State joins fight vs. federal education mandate |

State joins fight vs. federal education mandate

William Ferchland

California joined 31 other states denouncing parts of the federal No Child Left Behind Act after the Legislature approved a joint resolution this month.

Joint Resolution 88, authored by Assemblyman Joe Nation, D-San Rafael, doesn’t need Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s signature. It urges President Bush and Congress to fully fund and amend the act.

It was given final approval last week.

“Public school teachers and students are saddled with this one-size-fits-all law that undermines education by focusing on the wrong priorities for our schools and wasting billions of dollars on federal paperwork and bureaucracy,” said Barbara Kerr, president of the California Teachers Association with a 335,000 membership.Joan Walthall 8/24/04 ‘on behalf of’ rather than ‘and its’?

“This resolution affirms our many warnings that the law is dangerously flawed,” Kerr added.

The act demands all students, including English learners and those in need of special education, master standards in math and language arts by the 2013-14 school year. It also mandates students must be taught by “highly qualified” teachers and requires high attendance of students in test taking.

The resolution asks for funding, alteration to the 95 percent test participation requirement for all students, grant that a teacher certified under California is considered highly qualified and allow students whose parents won’t allow them tested exempt from the federal participation rate calculation.

Carol Murdock, president of the teachers’ union at Lake Tahoe Unified School District, supported the resolution. Murdock is also a teacher at South Tahoe Middle School.

“You can’t put everybody into the same box and expect the same results,” she said. “What they need to do is look at progress and set benchmarks that are realistic.”

Other states opposed to portions of the act are Utah, Virginia, Maine, New Hampshire, Arizona, Hawaii, Minnesota and New Mexico, said Jim Deboo, Nation’s spokesman.

– E-mail William Ferchland at

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