Obama to offer states waivers on school-aid law

WASHINGTON - The Obama administration will allow US states to opt out of some of the No Child Left Behind education law because Congress has failed to reform the controversial program, two senior officials said on Monday.
Education Secretary Arne Duncan and White House Domestic Policy Council Director Melody Barnes told a news conference that waivers would be granted to states that showed a commitment to improving their schools even if they did not meet current benchmarks for gains in student test scores.
But they said details of how the waivers would work would not be released until September.
The law, which was proposed by President George W. Bush and went into effect in 2002, links federal aid to public schools to results from standardized testing. It has come under fire from critics on several fronts including contentions that the testing makes teachers focus too narrowly on material that would raise scores.
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