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The ultimate affront to the Feds has yet to happen. Although any state can gracefully exit from No Child by simply declining federal funds, no state has done so. Three individual districts--in Illinois, Connecticut and Vermont--have opted out, but none had much money at stake. Evanston, Ill., considered doing so; then its board decided that would send the wrong signal to minority and special-ed kids. In other words, it's still politically incorrect to go against No Child. But that may change if the uprising continues.
President Bush defended the law at a press conference last week. "I will do everything I can to prevent people from unwinding it," he said. But the defection of the reddest of red states must be disconcerting. "Utah follows President Bush on his espoused values regarding family and religion," says Harrington, the state superintendent. "But you, Federal Government, are not going to point to our schools and call them failing or say they need improvement. We won't allow it."
If history is any judge, the outcome will be mixed. The Utah War was bloodless in the end. Buchanan did install his own Governor. And then he pardoned everyone in the state. All was forgiven, if not forgotten. --With reporting by Melissa August/ Washington, Nadia Mustafa/ New York and Maggie Sieger/ Chicago