More than half of all states applied by this week's new deadline to be freed from the most strenuous requirements of the Bush-era No Child Left Behind law, the Education Department said Wednesday.
The Obama administration is allowing states that promise to improve how they prepare and evaluate students along with other changes to get a waiver around the law. Recently, 11 states that applied for a waiver under an earlier deadline were given waivers.
Twenty-six states and the District of Columbia submitted an application for the latest round. They include Arkansas, Arizona, Connecticut, Delaware, Iowa, Idaho, Illinois, Kansas, Louisiana, Maryland, Michigan, Missouri, Mississippi, North Carolina, Nevada, New York, Ohio, Oregon, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington and Wisconsin.
The waivers are considered a stopgap measure until Congress acts to update the decade-old law, which has been up for renewal since 2007.
On Tuesday, a House committee passed a pair of Republican-backed bills that would alter the law by shifting a significant amount of control over schools out of the federal government's hands. But no Democrats supported the measures, and it appears unlikely that Congress will pass an overhaul of the law in a divided Congress during an election year.
Additional states can apply for a waiver in a third application round by Sept. 6, the Education Department said.
Online: Education Department flexibility: http://www.ed.gov/esea/flexibility