under President Bush's No Child Left Behind Act, and given them greater control over what is taught the classroom.

On August 22, Connecticut was the first state to file a federal lawsuit challenging the No Child Left Behind Act. According to recent coverage of the lawsuit, which could be the first of many, there has been a backlash among administrators, educators, lawmakers and parents against the act.

The federal law mandates certain testing standards be met, but detractors say it doesn't provide adequate funding to ensure those standards can be met or that students can pass the tests.

Opponents claim that too much emphasis is placed on yearly testing, which will tell them little, especially about minority students who are already falling far behind. In addition, no funding is provided for the broad, enriching programs that will enable students to acquire knowledge necessary to succeed on the tests.

Proponents claim that states like Connecticut shouldn't have accepted the funds they were given if they were not in agreement with No Child Left Behind. Connecticut officials countered that they desperately need what federal funding is offered.

"In recent years, we've had far too much emphasis placed on test scores at the expense of real learning," Wright asserted, adding that he worries the graduation rate will decrease and the dropout rate increase because of it. "I also think that the public at large is very close to saying, 'We've had enough of this type of narrow focus on standardized test scores. School, learning and education mean much more to us than that.'

"The pendulum that got pushed in this direction in the name of accountability has really swung too far," Wright added. "It's time to regain our balance and make sure we have accountability and content-rich instruction, but at the same time have a broad range of instruction that takes into account all of those areas that really lead to a productive citizen and successful life."

Sue Owens Wright  |  Contributing Writer