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OGDEN, Utah (AP) -- U.S. Rep. Rob Bishop, R-Utah, said he plans to rally support to stop the reauthorization of the federal No Child Left Behind program when Congress reconvenes.
"Well-intended as it was, it was the wrong thing to do," said Bishop, a former history teacher. "It's wrong for the federal government to take on that kind of responsibility."
Bishop said the act, which sets performance goals and sanctions for schools, has become a vehicle for special interest lobbies to mandate curriculum on a national level.
"Richard Simmons showed up, in a suit, trying to get us to include physical education as a mandate in No Child Left Behind," he said.
A spokesman for the Utah Education Association said the organization is primarily concerned about a lack of funding for the bill.
"We have been arguing for years that No Child Left Behind needs to be fixed and needs to be funded," said Mark Michelsen, a UEA spokesman. "Our biggest concern is that the bill has never been fully funded."
While the UEA wants changes made to the program, Michelsen said, it still wants the mandate reauthorized because it is the avenue by which Utah schools get federal money.
"It is the federal-funding mechanism for education," said Mark Peterson, a spokesman for the Utah State Office of Education. "The primary target of that money goes to Title 1 schools, which are the poorer schools."
But Bishop said he opposes the initiative because he contends the federal government shouldn't have the power to interfere with state education standards.
"They have the power by the purse strings to control curriculum in schools," he said. "I don't care how noble its goal was, or how it tried to get everyone covered, it's the wrong thing to do."
Bishop is a minority member of the House Committee on Education and Labor. He was not in Congress when NCLB was first passed in 2001.
Information from: Standard-Examiner
(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)