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H.B. 135 - No Child Left Behind Bill Headed For A Special Session

News Release
March 01, 2005
Salt Lake City, Utah -- An agreement has been reached concerning H.B. 135 that will move the final consideration of this legislation to a special session in April or May. Utah Governor Jon M. Huntsman, Jr. is requesting this action so he, Dr. Patti Harrington, Utah State Superintendent of Public Instruction, and bill sponsor Representative Margaret Dayton (R) Orem, can work with the Department of Education and The White House to find a solution to the challenges Utah faces regarding No Child Left Behind (NCLB).

H.B. 135 would insert U-PASS (Utah Performance Assessment System for Students) in place of the federally mandated NCLB, and it directs that when NCLB and U-PASS conflict, the local guidance will prevail.

H.B. 135 passed the Utah House of Representatives unanimously last week and was near certain passage by the Utah Senate, having passed on Second Reading 26-0, with three absent. Additionally HJR3, sponsored by Rep. Holdaway (R) of Taylorsville, which detailed the concerns related to NCLB was passed unanimously by the Utah House and Senate. The new agreement will allow Governor Huntsman and other state officials additional time to work with the U.S. Department of Education on an acceptable format for Utah.

The Department of Education sent a letter to Superintendent Harrington, emphasizing the willingness of the Department of Education to work with Utah officials on the implementation of NCLB. In two weeks Governor Huntsman, Superintendent Harrington and Representative Dayton will travel to Washington, D.C. to meet with U.S. Department of Education officials to discuss possible modifications to NCLB. Utah is seeking greater flexibility in the implementation of NCLB mandates.

"We are pleased with the cooperation we have received from Secretary Margaret Spellings and her staff at the Department of Education. However we are concerned that No Child Left Behind continues to label our schools as making 'inadequate' yearly progress and our teachers as not being highly qualified," said Superintendent Harrington. "We're optimistic that we will be able to continue to work closely with the Department of Education to resolve all of our concerns before the upcoming special legislative session."

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