Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, has co-sponsored legislation designed to support research into development of a new, voluntary and stringent supplementary teacher-certification program.

The measure would allow the National Professional Teacher Standards Board to use $25 million during the next three years to complete research on teacher preparation and skills, the Republican lawmaker said Tuesday.Hatch said he decided to back the bill after meetings with several Utah educators. "If American education is to be significantly improved, we must be willing to take bold new steps to enhance the caliber and professional status of teachers," he said.

"While this legislation addresses that need, it does not permit the federal government to intrude into the traditional primary responsibility for education of states and localities," Hatch said.

The senator emphasized that any federal funding would be used solely for research and not for the NPTSB's administrative expenses.