No Child Left Behind is “outmoded and constrains state and district efforts for innovation and reform,” Duncan added.
To fix the law, which is the latest version of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, the Obama administration wants Congress to act. The law is the primary way the federal government funds local schools but has not been reauthorized since it expired in 2007.
Revising No Child Left Behind would allow states relief from some school and student performance requirements, which many have claimed rely on overly rigid targets.
In 2011, the Obama administration announced that it would grant states waivers from requirements of the law, provided they came up with adequate standards, expectations and ways to assist vulnerable students.
Critics of the administration’s efforts have charged that the president has merely replaced one set of strict federal rules with another. They argue that education decisions should be best left to states and local school districts.
A total of 41 states and the District have received waivers from the federal education law, but seven are not receiving extensions because they are not scheduled to expire in 2014.
Competing bills to reform No Child Left Behind are currently working their way through Congress, though none have emerged with significant bipartisan support.
President Obama has pledged to veto a bill that passed the House on a largely party-line vote earlier this summer.