April 13, 2005

Spellings is taken to task

Connecticut's State Education Commissioner wants an apology from Education Secretary Margaret Spellings:

State Education Commissioner Betty J. Sternberg is asking U.S. Education Secretary Margaret Spellings to apologize for critical comments she made about Connecticut's response to the federal No Child Left Behind law on a television news program last week...

She said Spellings was wrong to say on the NewsHour program that Connecticut is claiming it is not ready to start giving the tests in grades 3, 5, and 7. Sternberg said the state has done the work necessary to prepare for the tests' administration and is one of only five states in the country that are on track to fully implement No Child Left Behind's requirements.

"On a very personal note, I must tell you as a Jewish American whose family was deeply affected by the pogroms of the late 19th and early 20th centuries and later by the Holocaust, bigotry is never "soft,'" Sternberg wrote. "Bigotry always has a hard edge. It is simply outrageous that you would accuse me and my associates of "the soft bigotry of low expectations.'"

Spellings' comments came two days after state Attorney General Richard Blumenthal announced his intention to sue the U.S. Department of Education for not giving Connecticut enough funding to implement No Child Left Behind, which he said is illegal and unconstitutional.

A DOE spokeswoman says Spellings' remarks were taken "out of context," but it's hard to think of more than one context for the quote, "[Connecticut is] trying to find a loophole to get out of the law as opposed to attending to the needs of those kids."

Posted by kswygert at April 13, 2005 06:56 PM