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No Child Left Behind rules relaxed for schools hit by Katrina, Rita

[JURIST] US Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings [official profile] has announced that No Child Left Behind [official website] yearly academic accountability standards will be eased for schools affected by Hurricane Katrina [JURIST news archive] and Hurricane Rita. Spellings said that schools in the five "major disaster" states - Louisiana, Texas, Mississippi, Florida, and Alabama - could delay compliance under the education act without requesting a waiver if they were greatly damaged or closed due to the hurricanes. Other schools not showing closures or major damages would be responsible for complying with NCLB testing requirements, including schools which are accommodating displaced students, but Spellings said they could request a waiver if displaced students' test scores prevent them from meeting the annual standards. Spellings' decision was prompted in part due to pressure by the National Education Association [union website], the nation's largest teachers union, and school advocates are also pushing for waivers to the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act [HUD backgrounder] which prevents schools from segregating the homeless and mandates schools to pay for student busing services. The National Association for the Education of Homeless Children and Youth [advocacy website; McKinney-Vento implementation materials] contends that proposed waivers to the law would be discriminatory. Friday's Washington Post has more.

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