After delaying a vote on a measure aimed at softening the impact of the federal No Child Left Behind Act on Utah schools, the state Senate’s Republican caucus sent President Bush a letter asserting its willingness to pass the measure later this year.
The letter, dated March 7, said the mandates of the federal law cause the lawmakers “grave concern” over “America’s essential historic balance between centralized power and local rights.”
At a minimum, the letter says, lawmakers want a written statement assuring Utah that it has “full control of governance and accountability measures in Utah’s schools.” It adds: “We need local control of educator qualification, certification, and licensure.”
At the behest of Gov. Jon M. Huntsman Jr., the GOP-controlled legislature scheduled a special session for April 20 to vote on House Bill 135, which seeks to allow state law to trump the federal law where the two conflict. The measure had cleared the House and was headed for passage in the Senate when the governor, a Republican, made his request. (“Utah Legislators Delay Action on NCLB Bill,” March 9, 2005.)
The U.S. Department of Education is reviewing the letter, said Susan Aspey, a department spokeswoman.
A version of this article appeared in the March 16, 2005 edition of Education Week