SUWANEE -- A leader with Gwinnett County Public Schools said a waiver granted Thursday by President Barack Obama to free Georgia of the No Child Left Behind rules could provide a "more realistic indication" of student performance.
"The state's waiver will address several concerns Georgia schools had regarding No Child Left Behind/Adequate Yearly Progress requirements," said Superintendent J. Alvin Wilbanks.
Georgia was one of the first 10 states freed from the strict and sweeping requirements of the education law in exchange for promises to improve the way schools teach and evaluate students.
Obama said he was acting because Congress had failed to update the law despite widespread agreement it needed to be fixed.
In states granted a waiver, students will still be tested annually. But starting this fall, schools will no longer face the same prescriptive actions spelled out under No Child Left Behind. A school's performance will also likely be labeled differently.
No Child Left Behind requires all students to be proficient in reading and math by 2014. Obama's action stripped away that requirement for those approved for flexibility, provided they offer a viable plan instead.
Wilbanks said the "overall metrics will be much broader and comprehensive, providing a more realistic indication of how schools are performing."
"While the waiver removes the requirement that all students be proficient in reading and math by 2014, there is accountability that students will be prepared for college and careers and that schools will be focused on improving achievement among all students," Wilbanks said.
Added Wilbanks: "That is consistent with our efforts in Gwinnett to close the achievement gap and ensure success for all students."
The first 10 states to receive the waivers are Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Jersey, Oklahoma and Tennessee, the White House said. The only state that applied for the flexibility and did not get it, New Mexico, is working with the administration to get approval.
-The Associated Press contributed to this report.