The Washington Times - July 6, 2012, 09:30AM

The Obama administration stepped up its effort to release states from the No Child Left Behind law Friday, with the Education Department approving two more waiver requests.

Washington state and Wisconsin will no longer be subject to the demanding “adequate yearly progress” system and other mandates under the decade-old education law, which has fallen out of favor with most in the education community and lawmakers on both sides of the aisle.

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“It is a remarkable milestone that in only five months, more than half of the states in the country have adopted state-developed, next-generation education reforms to improve student learning and classroom instruction,” Education Secretary Arne Duncan said.

Twenty-six states have now been given relief from the law’s benchmarks and targets, the first major domestic policy achievement of former President George W. Bush’s administration. Another 10 states and D.C. have submitted waiver requests which are under review at the Education Department.

The waiver system, announced by President Obama last fall, is the administration’s “plan B” for school reform. Efforts in both the House and Senate to replace NCLB have failed, despite heavy pressure from the White House.