SBOE's Thomas Ratliff Calls For State To Abandon No Child Left Behind
Texas State Board of Education Vice Chairman Thomas Ratliff said he would like to see the state completely abandon the federal No Child Left Behind program.
Ratliff said in 2013 lawmakers reduced the number of tests for high school students but failed in their attempts to do the same for elementary and middle school students out of fear that Texas would lose its federal public education dollars. Ratliff said that money only accounts for less than 10% of the state public education budget.
"I don’t think it is money we can live without but I think we can replace that money with state money, because of the Texas economy and the Rainy Day Fund," Ratliff said. "So I think it is federal money we can do without.”
Ratliff is also asking that Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott get involved because he fears federal officials will cut out money for programs like free and reduced lunch and special education if Texas completely backs out of No Child Left Behind.
“I’m asking the AG to talk to Washington, D.C., and say: 'Don’t try to tie all these different funding sources together. Don’t try to hold one funding sources hostage for another,' ” Ratliff said.
Ratliff said ahead of the 2015 legislative session he’s floating the idea by sending out this letter addressing the problem, he's hoping it might get picked up by some member of the Texas Legislature and made law.