Seeking Congress’ support, the White House is trying to renovate key parts of the No Child Left Behind education law, which has been in law for eight years.

The Administration’s proposal would revamp the methods the federal government utilizes to evaluate public schools, tossing out a mandate that states add to the ratio of students meeting or exceeding standards every year, though it does allow states to dictate their own standards.

To replace the old law, the White House is proposing that Congress consider rewarding states that display improvement toward standards that are benchmarked internationally and nationally developed.

The proposal was outlined by the White House on Monday as the president released his 2011 budget, framed by some as Obama’s strategy to leave his mark on the public education sytem, calling it “the next version of No Child Left Behind.”

The president’s Education secretary, Arne Duncan, has long been quote as saying that No Child Left Behind fails to holds students to lofty enough standards. Duncan told reporters in a conference call that the law “often does little to reward progress” of schools that show significant achievement — and lets states settle for benchmarks that are too low to help U.S. students to qualify for college or compete in an international job market.

Duncan said, “In too many states, those standards are too low, and the existing law doesn’t provide states with incentives to raise their standards. In fact, quite the opposite is true.”

Though dialogues with Congressman continue, Duncan made it plain Monday he’s in search of a new vision of academic benchmarks. He said the law allows states to water down standards in what he called a “race to the bottom” which requires that 100% of students become proficient in math and reading by 2014.

Duncan continued by saying that the law “did a great job of exposing the achievement gap and demanding accountability, but it had many other shortcomings.”

Duncan was emphatic in stating that he’s seeking Congress’ help. “We’ve made no decisions about 2014. … Everything’s on the table.”

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