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Education

Besides Hatch, Utahns in Congress Snub No Child Left Behind Rewrite

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The Bush administration’s widely unpopular education law, No Child Left Behind, may soon be struck from the books. The U.S. House of Representatives voted Wednesday to replace it.

For the past five years, Utah Education officials have been able to opt out of the onerous requirements of No Child Left Behind by applying for a waiver through the federal government. Mark Peterson is a spokesman for the Utah State office of education. He says the new legislation, called the Every Student Succeeds Act gives states much more control over public education.

“Each state will devise its own accountability system and will have more funds available to them to use in creative ways devised by the states rather than any federal program,” Peterson says.

Utah Republican Senator Orrin Hatch co-sponsored the bill. He also says the bill empowers states.

But the rest of Utah’s congressional delegation disagrees with that assessment. Utah House members voted against it. And in a speech on the Senate floor last month, Republican Senator Mike Lee criticized a provision in the bill that would authorize additional spending on federal pre-k programs.

“We should not expand Washington’s control over America’s schools and pre-k programs,” Lee says. “Instead, Congress must advance reforms that empower parents with flexibility and with choice.”

The Senate is scheduled to take up the bill next week. President Obama is expected to sign it. 

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