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Timing of sweeping changes to education law suspect

Bush administration leaves behind unwelcome early holiday gift to next U.S. president, Congress

WASHINGTON - October 28, 2008 -

National Education Association President Dennis Van Roekel today questioned the timing of the release of final regulations under the No Child Left Behind Act affecting millions of students and schools across America. In a speech today, U.S. Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings announced sweeping changes to the federal law.

The following statement can be attributed to NEA President Dennis Van Roekel:

"The timing of Secretary Spellings' announcement is suspect given that the Bush administration has had more than six years to seek those changes but now has less than three months left in office. And with eight days remaining before millions of Americans head to the polls, the next president of the United States and the next Secretary of Education deserve the right to work with the next Congress and leave his or her mark on federal education policy, not have their hands tied by ill-timed and piecemeal changes.

"The changes that Secretary Spellings announced today still fail to move away from the current test, punish, label framework established by No Child Left Behind. On the funding front, the law remains woefully underfunded to the tune of $15 billion this year alone. Secretary Spellings would effectively impose additional mandates on states and schools struggling to stay financially afloat or avoiding laying staff off to cope with depressed budgets. 

"More to the point, however, these changes will force states and school districts-which are in the middle of carrying out their plans for the 2008-2009 school year-to scramble to revise major procedures and systems two school years in a row. They deserve better than that unwelcome early holiday gift the Bush administration is leaving behind."

To learn more about NEA's concerns with the final NCLB rule, please visit

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The National Education Association is the nation's largest professional organization, representing
3.2 million elementary and secondary teachers, higher education faculty, education support professionals, school administrators, retired educators and students preparing to become teachers.

CONTACT: Miguel A. Gonzalez  (202) 822-7823