Friday, February 15, 2008

Seventh Circuit: NCLB trumps IDEA

The United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit has issued an interesting opinion in
Board of Educ of Ottawa Township High School District 140, et al., v. Margaret Spellings, Secretary of Education, et al., No. 07-2008. The Court affirms the District Court's dismissal of a challenge of NCLB as inconsistent with IDEA but not for lack of standing as the District Court had held. Instead, the Court ruled that NCLB, which was enacted in 2001, must prevail to the extent that there are inconsistencies with IDEA, the portions of which that were at issue were enacted between 1970 and 1990. You can find the decision at

The court did allow an interesting loophole. At the end of the opinion the Court noted that the challenge was to the entirety of NCLB, and the Court left open the possibility that portions of the Act, or specific regulations promulgated thereunder might yield. The claim against the entire statute was, however, too weak to allow continued litigation.

Stay tuned for more interesting decisions- unless the political heat on NCLB kills it first. In that regard, the trend is toward mediation in divorce cases. I wonder if any mediator would attempt to take on the potential divorce of NCLB and IDEA? Flak jackets recommended.

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