Huntsman Set to Sign Bill Challenging 'No Child Left Behind'

Huntsman Set to Sign Bill Challenging 'No Child Left Behind'

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Sammy Linebaugh reporting Governor John Hunstman Junior is set to sign a bill challenging President Bush's "No Child Left Behind" Act.

The Utah Legislature overwhelmingly approved the bill during the first day of a special session.

It's a busy week for Utah's lawmakers. Yesterday, alone, legislators gave their "okay" to four agenda items.

The House unanimously approved a funding plan for a Veterans Nursing Home north of Ogden.

The Senate confirmed Huntsman nominee Yvette Diaz as the Director of Community and Culture.

The Senate said yes to a drug offender treatment pilot program.

A state funding plan for the Salt Palace expansion is still incomplete.

The most noteable item, so far, is education. Both the Senate and the House have overwhelmingly passed a bill snubbing President Bush's education reform.

The bill gives the federal No Child Left Behind rules a back seat to Utah education standards and dictates the state spend as little money as possible to comply with the federal standards.

Education Secretary Margaret Spellings has warned passing the bill would not come cheap. She says it would cost the state 76 million dollars a year in federal funding.

But Utah officials contest the state won't lose money and say using the Utah Performance Assessment System for Students is better for Utah than No Child Left Behind.

Patti Harrington/ Utah Superintendent of Public Instruction: "For example, when parents get a report on their children and their schools, the UPASS report will be first, down in the corner will be a box for No Child Left Behind. We'll remain compliant, therefore we won't lose the money."

Governor Jon Huntsman has said he will sign this bill, and that could happen as early as today. First, he plans to try to reach a compromise with federal officials.

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