The Obama administration is proposing a sweeping overhaul of President Bush’s signature education law, No Child Left Behind, and will call for broad changes in how schools are judged to be succeeding or failing, as well as for the elimination of the law’s 2014 deadline for bringing every American child to proficiency, reports the New York Times. Educators who have been briefed by administration officials said the proposals would eliminate or rework many of the provisions that teachers’ unions and other education groups have found most objectionable. Yet the administration is not planning to abandon the law’s commitments to closing the achievement gap between minority and white students and to encouraging teacher quality. The White House reportedly wants to change federal financing formulas so that a portion of the money is awarded based on academic progress, rather than by formulas that apportion money to districts according to their numbers of students, especially poor students. The current system issues the equivalent of a pass-fail report card for every school each year—an evaluation that administration officials say fails to differentiate among chaotic schools in chronic failure, schools that are helping low-scoring students improve, and high-performing suburban schools that nonetheless appear to be neglecting some low-scoring students. Instead, under the administration’s proposals, a new accountability system would divide schools into more categories, offering recognition to those that are succeeding and providing large new amounts of money to help improve or close failing schools…

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staff and wire services reports