By RAJU CHEBIUM
Gannett Washington Bureau
WASHINGTON - The Obama administration said Thursday it is exempting South Carolina from having to follow many of the mandates of the No Child Left Behind education law.
South Carolina, Arizona, Kansas, Michigan, Mississippi and Oregon were granted exemptions today, joining the District of Columbia and 25 other states that have already won waivers.
The waivers were granted after the U.S. Department of Education signed off on state plans to adequately prepare students for college or work, target school aid to the neediest students and support effective teaching.
The Obama administration has been allowing states to opt out of No Child Left Behind since September 2011 because Congress hasn't renewed and overhauled the law, which formally expired in 2007.
Educators say they support the law's goals of ensuring every student is "proficient" in math, reading and science but argue that the law is too punitive and overly reliant on test scores. It fails to recognize true progress made by struggling students and unfairly punishes teachers and schools that educate them, educators argue.