Continuing a recent trend of granting states and schools more flexibility to meet the stringent requirements of the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB), Education Secretary Margaret Spellings has announced new policies that ease the rules on testing limited-English students and defining "highly qualified" teachers.

The changes come as Congress prepares to renew NCLB next year. State and school leaders welcomed the news, because it helps them meet their goals--and avoid penalties--under the law.

The Education Department (ED) gave states final permission Sept. 13 to leave out the test scores

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