Washington (CNN) – Following new federal rules that give more flexibility in meeting No Child Left Behind requirements, President Barack Obama said states can now better educate their children.
“This will make a huge difference in the lives of students all across the country,” Obama said in his weekly address Saturday.
Obama announced Friday that states could opt out of certain demands imposed by the decade-old No Child Left Behind law in return for credible commitments to close lingering achievement gaps.
“While the goals behind No Child Left Behind were admirable, experience has taught us that the law has some serious flaws that are hurting our children instead of helping them,” Obama said, adding that teachers were being forced to teach to a test, squeezing out subjects like history and science.
The 2001 law requires public school to meet specific goals of enhanced reading and math levels by 2014 or face strict penalties.
But without waivers, the Department of Education predicted that up to 82 percent of the nation’s schools might miss that target.
The reformed rules announced Friday waive certain requirements for struggling schools, allowing them, instead, to enact accountability standards, such as teacher evaluations based on a number of factors other than just student performance.
“It is time to raise our standards, up our game, and do everything it takes to prepare our children succeed in the global economy,” Obama said. “Now is the time to once again make our education system the envy of the world.”