Lawsuits Filed Against NCLB

K-12 Testing

A lawsuit filed in U.S. district court on behalf of special education students in two Illinois school districts charges federal and state education officials with violating special education laws by imposing the one-size-fits-all mandates of No Child Left Behind (NCLB). Another suit filed by a California district targets the law’s negative impact on bilingual students.

The special education complaint filed by students from Ottawa Districts 140 and 141 against state and federal officials alleges that NCLB violates the Individuals with Disabilities Act (IDEA) by disregarding its requirement that students’ individual education programs (IEPs) be “uniquely tailored to the student’s needs as they relate to his/her disability.” It says that school districts cannot comply with both NCLB demands for “categorical and system change” and IDEA requirements for “treating each special education student as an individual.”

The suit also charges that disabled students will be significantly harmed if their IEPs are altered to meet NCLB requirements. “Such action would ignore the individual needs stemming from the individual students’ disabilities and fail to focus on meaningful and realistic goals, programming and services.”
The state has moved to dismiss the suit.


English Language Learners' Lawsuit
The Coachella Valley Unified District is suing the state of California on behalf of non-English speaking students. The suit alleges that the district, where 82 percent of 15,000 students lack English proficiency, is being set up for failure by the state’s implementation of NCLB because all testing is administered in English. As a result of this disadvantage, the district has been labeled “in need of improvement” and is subject to NCLB-mandated sanctions.

• Information on NCLB-related federal legislation and state legislation and resolutions is available here.