Federal officials granted eight more states waivers from the Bush-era No Child Left Behind education law on Tuesday.
In a conference call with reporters, Education Secretary Arne Duncan said he had approved waivers for Connecticut, Delaware, Louisiana, Maryland, New York, North Carolina, Ohio and Rhode Island, according to The Associated Press.
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States granted waivers are exempt from the law's requirement that all students pass achievement tests by 2014 -- and make progress toward that goal each year -- or risk losing federal funding, according to Bloomberg.
States must promise to improve how they prepare and evaluate students in exchange for the flexibility. In all, 19 states have been granted NCLB waivers so far, the AP reported.
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“States must show they are protecting children in order to get flexibility,” Duncan said in a statement. “These states met that bar.”
Almost half of US public schools are considered failing under No Child Left Behind, according to a report issued in December by the Center on Education Policy, a Washington-based nonpartisan research group.
President Barack Obama has pledged to change the 10-year-old law and its focus on standardized-testing. Most federal lawamakers agree the legislation needs an overhaul, but Republicans have argued that Congress -- not the administation -- should do that, according to Bloomberg.
Obama has previously excused 11 other states from NCLB provisions. They are: Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Jersey, New Mexico Oklahoma and Tennessee, according to UPI.