The No Child Left Behind Law has been waived in two more states, Washington and Wisconsin, the Associated Press reported Friday.
There are now 26 states currently being excused from the controversial Bush-era educational policy, which requires that all American students achieve proficient math and reading scores by 2014, a goal deemed impossible by many educators and education experts, the AP reported.
In order to be granted an exemption from the law, states must submit detailed plans showing they will adequately prepare students for college, aid struggling groups, and effectively evaluate teachers and principals, the Christian Science Monitor reported.
“There was a general feeling that there were these goals that no one was ever going to meet,” Kelli Gauthier, spokeswoman for the Tennessee Department of Education, told the New York Times. “Now we have standards that are possible.”
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The law was initially put in place to help struggling students — including minorities, low-income students, English language learners and special education students — but it has since been criticized for its narrow measurement of success, which has led to thousands of schools being labeled as "failing," the AP reported.
The waiver process began last year, and is an attempt by President Obama and the US Department of Education to bypass Congress and give states more flexibility in the face of the law, which has been due to be rewritten since 2007 but has not been reauthorized by Congress, the Christian Science Monitor reported.
"It is a remarkable milestone that in only five months, more than half of the states in the country have adopted state-developed, next-generation education reforms to improve student learning and classroom instruction, while ensuring that resources are targeted to the students that need them most," US Education Secretary Arne Duncan said, CBS News reported. "A strong, bipartisan reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act remains the best path forward in education reform, but as 26 states have now demonstrated, our kids can't wait any longer for Congress to act."
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Washington's waiver will lift the requirement that all students pass the state reading and math tests by 2014, and offer the state's school districts more flexibility for allocating some federal dollars, according to the AP.
Wisconsin's alternative plan includes an innovative "red flag" system that can be put in place at any point throughout the school year when groups of students are failing in a variety of ways beyond test scores, such as attendance and drop-out rates, the AP reported.
Some say that the growing number of waivers signal a "slow death" of the No Child Left Behind act, according to CBS News.
Last month, waivers were approved in Arkansas, Iowa, Missouri, South Dakota, Utah and Virginia, and more waiver applications are still pending in 10 states and the District of Columbia, according to the AP.
“The more waivers there are, the less there really is a law, right?” Andy Porter, dean of the University of Pennsylvania’s Graduate School of Education, told the New York Times.