One more thing
Local school leaders liked what they heard about the proposed changes to No Child Left Behind when House Education and Labor chairman George Miller came to town. But all the talk about growth models, multiple measures, choice options and such can't be effective, they told Miller, without one more piece in place.
"One of the ways you can really help me at the federal level is to fully fund IDEA," Pinellas superintendent Clayton Wilcox (left) said, referring to the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act. "Because right now I'm converting substantial dollars locally to serve those kids, who absolutely need it. I cannot leave those kids unserved."
Hillsborough School Board chairman Jack Lamb (right), an exceptional student education advocate, told Miller much the same. "You talk about accountability. We'd like Congress to be accountable," Lamb said. "We'd like them to stand up for what many parents of disabled children believe was a promise in 1975, that they were going to assume responsibility for 40 percent (funding). We're not even half way there."
Miller, who helped write many of the IDEA rules, too, acknowledged the problem. He said it's been a constant struggle since the day Congress overwhelmingly passed the law and then flat-lined the funding.
"One of the things that is very clear - you cannot do No Child Left Behind and take the money away from IDEA. And you can't do IDEA and take away from No Child Left Behind. That just won't work," Miller said. "This year we did small additions to IDEA and pretty good additions to Title I schools and schools in need of improvement. Hopefully next year we'll start rebuilding."