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Two more states—Washington and Wisconsin—will be granted waivers from No Child Left Behind policies on Friday, bumping the total of exempt states from the Bush-era legislation up to 26.
According to the New York Times, more than half of schools in the U.S. are free of the act's requirements, which involve meeting a goal of 100% proficiency in reading and math by 2014.
The law has been criticized for its focus on test scores, leading to, among other things, a learning environment in some classrooms that emphasizes teaching to the test. And as the AP notes, Congress and the Department of Education acknowledge that the law needs to be fixed, but can't agree on how. The waivers are intended as temporary measures to release states from its requirements until the federal policy is revamped. Ten more states, plus Washington D.C., have pending waiver applications.
States apply for waivers with their own plans to improve and evaluate student performance, focusing on students in low-performing schools. The waivers also allow states more flexibility in the use of some federal funds.