Senator Hatch says bill passed in Senate addresses shortcomings of No Child Left Behind (ABC 4 Utah)

By Glen Mills

SALT LAKE CITY (ABC 4 Utah) Competing ideas on education reform are being debated in congress this week.

More local control over education is a common rally cry in Utah.

Jennifer Johnson with the Utah State Board of Education says federal standards are unrealistic.

"We have some accountability measures that are just essentially defined to make it so no school can meet that accountability measure. Essentially, if you have one student that doesn't make 100% proficiency that school hasn't met the accountability measure," said Johnson.

Education reform is front and center in congress this week.

"Congress now has the opportunity to correct the shortcomings of No Child Left Behind. Instead of setting artificial and unattainable requirements, the new legislation allows states like Utah to set their own standards for success," said Senator Orrin Hatch, ( R ) Ut. 

Senator Hatch is talking about the Every Child Achieves Act. 

It defers to local leaders to set goals and accountability measures that reflect their own district.

The bill also includes a pay for success initiative and calls for increased student privacy, a big concern in today's digital world.

Those were amendments added by Senator Hatch. 

"The bill we are considering will make significant improvements to the quality of education in Utah and it will enhance the ability of our students to compete in a global economy once they enter the workforce," said Hatch.

It passed the Senate on a vote of 81-17.

It will now be considered by the House where they are working on their own reform bill.

Only time will tell how the competing bills play out, but Johnson says she's encouraged reform seems to be moving forward.

"We need to be able to meet the needs of each individual student and that comes by having a lot more flexibility with some of the federal funding," said Johnson.

The Pay for Success initiative is actually based on a Utah model.

Senator Hatch likes it, because if results aren't delivered tax payer dollars are not spent.