Trouble at the Mill

From Holden:


Texas officials flick a booger on Chimpy’s windshield.

The authorities in Texas yesterday shrugged off a fine that the federal Department of Education has imposed on the state because it was late last year in notifying schools and districts whether they had reached student achievement benchmarks under President Bush’s No Child Left Behind law.

While promising to notify schools in a timely fashion this year, the education commissioner of Texas, Shirley Neeley, said, “Classrooms and teachers will not be harmed by this fine.”

Education Secretary Margaret Spellings announced the $444,282 fine on Friday. It appears to be the largest fine imposed on any state since Mr. Bush signed the federal law in 2002.

Ms. Spellings, who was Mr. Bush’s top education adviser when he was governor of Texas in the 1990’s, said in a terse letter that she would withhold the money from the more than $1 billion the state receives in federal education financing, arguing that the six-week delay was unwarranted.