In last week’s two day Special Session of the Utah Legislature, lawmakers decided to pass all but one of the bills that Gov. Jon Huntsman Jr., had on the docket.
The bill receiving the most attention deals with the implementation of federal education programs, or in other words the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB).
Sponsored by Rep. Margaret Dayton (R-Orem) the bill prioritizes Utah education goals ahead of federal education goals, essentially replacing NCLB with the state’s U-PASS system.
Some worry this will cause some $76 million of federal funds to disappear from Utah schools as it directly clashes with President Bush’s education-reform act.
Huntsman is likely to sign the bill this week, but has pledged he will continue his efforts to ask the feds for suppleness under NCLB.
In conjunction with the bill the Utah Education Association joined with eight other state associations, the National Education Association and several school districts to file a lawsuit which seeks to make the Bush Administration pay the costs of its own rules and regulations under NCLB.
The plaintiffs want to stop the U.S. Department of Education from denying federal funds to states and school districts that refuse to spend their own money on NCLB regulations.
UEA President Pat Rusk said NCLB needs to be “fixed and funded,” adding that, “scarce public school funds are being used to pay for student testing, instead of proven reform methods like class size reduction and curriculum enhancement.”
For more information on the lawsuit visit: www.nea.org/lawsuit.
Bills that also passed during the Special Session included one about a veteran’s nursing home, a drug abusers treatment plan, a transportation funding plan, and funding for convention facilities such as the Salt Palace Convention Center.
For a complete list of bills that passed visit www.le.state.ut.us and click on the First Special Session of the 56th Legislature link.