The following are excerpts from an editorial in todays Oklahoman:
"Those decrying the No Child Left Behind law as an unfunded mandate and a law trampling state and local control of education couldn't be more wrong. Just ask Utah.
"The state appears poised to snub the law because officials believe their state's way of determining whether schools are performing well takes precedence over provisions of No Child Left Behind. Utah, and other states, are subject to punishments for not following the provisions only if they accept federal money. In Utah's case, that means it may have to forfeit $76 million.
"Utah officials are well within their rights to essentially ignore parts of the federal education law that they don't like as long as they're willing to part with federal money. One might even admire their gumption. On the other hand, there's still the matter of the children who could be helped by that money. NCLB primarily deals with schools with lots of poor children who are more likely to be behind the education curve."
"States are sending the wrong message by opting out or suing over the law. It's true the law could use some tweaking, but that can be done even as schools continue to turn mountains of data into strategies to improve student achievement. The status quo has hurt the country's reputation as an education superpower, and it's time to accept the mammoth challenge of giving all students the quality education they deserve."
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