Wednesday, February 11, 2004

For Bush, Trouble in Zion

Utah is one of the most Republican states in the nation, heavily dominated by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. Yet the Utah state House has just dealt the Bush administration an embarrassing blow, passing 64-8 a slap in the face for Bush's much touted No Child Left Behind. The bill forbids the state's education leaders from spending one red dime, or even one thin cent, of "local money" on meeting the requirements of Bush's federal law. (New York Times story here.) "Utah's defiance is the most politically embarrassing challenge by any state so far to the wide-ranging federal law," sez the Times. Virginia and Vermont have also passed resolutions against the law.

Apparently, the White House had been so alarmed at the pending Utah action -- the original state law called for opting out by rejecting all federal monies -- that a high-level delegation of Education Department officials was dispatched to Salt Lake City to try to talk some sense into the Saints. The visit worked partially. Said Saints weakened the language in their bill -- okay, we'll take federal money, but if you don't include enough to cover the costs of enforcing this ridiculous No Child Left Behind, then Bush's law will get left behind.

If the Utah Senate passes the House bill, which it's expected to do, and if the governor of Utah signs it, then our great Education President gets the most embarrassing rebuke of his reign from his own choir.

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