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The national education initiative known as No Child Left Behind seems to be having a positive impact on the nation’s public schools. Here in Utah, the latest round of so-called “adequate yearly progress” reports shows schools are indeed improving.

Regardless, the jury is still out on the overall effectiveness and long-term impact of No Child Left Behind. Especially worrisome is federal intrusion into local education along with a lack of adequate funding to achieve Uncle Sam’s mandates.

It is a program that seems more punitive than encouraging. It is why KSL is intrigued with the Utah State Board of Education’s desire to implement a locally developed alternative to No Child Left Behind.

The board is asking the U.S. Department of Education to let U-PASS, the Utah Performance Assessment System for Students, become Utah’s program for improving academics and requiring greater accountability in the public schools.

In KSL’s view, Utah educators have a much better handle on how to improve education in the state than bureaucrats and politicians in Washington. For the well being of Utah students, KSL hopes officials at the U.S. Department of Education will be responsive to the request. They should allow states such as Utah more flexibility in achieving the established federal standards.

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