Another school year is about to begin, and with it come changes to the No Child Left Behind act, including here in Colorado.
Monday, Education Secretary Arne Duncan will announce a new waiver system to give schools here and across the country a break from student testing mandates, with more specifics to come next month.
State officials say they can no longer wait for mandates from the No Child Left Behind law, and have been begging federal officials for relief.
The waivers will be offered around the country as long as they meet other school reform requirements--and come at the request of President Barack Obama.
The waivers will allow schools some relief from exams as long as they agree to taking action towards other elements of education reform.
The goal of the 9-year-old law is to have every student proficient in math and reading by 2014. To track progress, schools are mandated to test students each year, and must show yearly progress by having more students meet testing goals each year.
Critics have argued that the benchmarks are unrealistic; that yearly testing forces teachers to focus on preparing for a specific exam all year versus allowing for a wider curriculum; and label schools that don't meet the testing requirements a failure even if they continue to show significant progress each year
Duncan warns that 80 percent of all U.S. schools could be labeled failures next year if No Child Left Behind is not changed.