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Education Dept. Might Withhold Texas Funding

Associated Press
Sunday, September 5, 2004; Page A22

AUSTIN, Sept. 4 -- The Education Department may withhold as much as $7 million from President Bush's home state for its failure to tell parents whether schools performed up to standard under the No Child Left Behind Act.

Parents will not be able to request transfers for their children from poorly performing schools until the information is released, and the funding may be withheld until then.

_____No Child Left Behind_____
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Full Coverage

"The law states we're supposed to announce the results before school started, and we did not make that deadline," Debbie Graves Ratcliffe, a Texas Education Agency spokeswoman, told the San Antonio Express-News. State education officials said they might not have the final results until February. Ratcliffe said the school report cards were delayed because federal education officials did not approve the state's plan for assessing progress until the end of July. Much of Texas's plan was scrapped because it did not meet the law's requirements.

Under Bush's No Child Left Behind Act, schools must demonstrate year-to-year progress. Students at schools that miss performance benchmarks two years in a row are eligible to transfer to other schools.

State education officials had planned to release preliminary data on Nov. 15 and the final list of failing schools on Feb. 23.

That is not soon enough, according to Education Department spokeswoman D.J. Nordquist.

"It won't be February," she said. "We've been working with people at the Texas Education Agency, and those results will be released before that."

© 2004 The Washington Post Company


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