Federal judge says no to Florida Education Commissioner

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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) — A federal judge is rejecting a request from Florida Education Commissioner Pam Stewart and six school districts to take over a lawsuit that challenges the state law preventing some students from being promoted to the fourth grade.

Judge Mark Walker ruled Friday following an emergency hearing. His decision means that the dispute will head back to a state court in Tallahassee.

Department of Education and school district lawyers asserted that the case belonged in federal court because the parent had initially alleged an equal protection violation.

Walker maintained he did have jurisdiction over the case and that it was a "close call." But he said most of the case revolves around state law.

The lawsuit was filed after students were held back because they didn't pass a state mandated test.

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