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National Education Official Touts "No Child Left Behind"

National Education Official Touts "No Child Left Behind"

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Sandra Yi reporting There has been hearing a lot of talk about President Bush's 'No Child Left Behind' law.

The reports released yesterday show a third of Utah's public schools failed to meet academic standards, mandated by that federal legislation.

The law will affect every student in the classroom.

The Under Secretary of Education says that's part of the government's commitment to - 'leave no child behind'.

Eugene Hickok, Under Secretary of Education: "The biggest challenge we have not just in this great state but in this country is to recognize that we can do better."

That's the idea behind - 'No Child Left Behind.' It's a landmark education reform, part of President Bush's initiative - to improve student achievement. The goal is to have all children reading at grade level in the next 14 years.

Eugene Hickok: "It's an ambitious proposition, but the goal is to rally America to this higher cause that we need to make sure this country makes a concerted effort to make sure every child gets a great education."

The law also increases accountability for schools. In Utah, schools with a large number of poor students, must have a 'school improvement' plan. If they fail to meet standards, then parents have the option of moving their child to a different school.

Eugene Hickok: "Even here in Utah, there are achievement gaps. There are students who are being left behind. It's not their fault. It's no one's fault, but we need to recognize that and move forward."

Eugene Hickok is the principal advisor to Rod Paige, the U-S Secretary of Education. He's in Utah, to speak to educators, legislators and policy makers about N-C-L-B.

His visit comes a day after Utah's public schools released the controversial 'adequate yearly progress reports'. Results show - a third of schools fall short of standards. Federal law requires every state set high standards for what students should know.

Eugene Hickok: "These are Utah standards, these are Utah tests, this is Utah's report card."

Hickok says, hopefully those reports will encourage more discussion - about 'No Child Left Behind'. And hopefully, more parent involvement.

Eugene Hickok: "I think you're really just starting this conversation in Utah. You're going to see some very interesting things take place."

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