It's a milestone for No Child Left Behind, but not in a good way: More than half of the nation is now exempt. The White House issued waivers today to the 25th and 26th states, and another 10 are in the works, reports the New York Times. The exemptions come ahead of a 2014 deadline requiring all students to be proficient in math and reading. They also come close to making the hallmark of George W. Bush's education reform "essentially nullified," says the Times.
Education chief Arne Duncan says the waivers are necessary while the administration works with Congress to rewrite the law, which critics say is too focused on test results, notes AP. "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," said Duncan in a statement. A school superintendent in Maryland says the waivers don't do much to get away from standardized tests, however. “I have a lot of respect for Arne Duncan, but it’s just sort of moving around the chairs on the Titanic.”