A U.S. Department of Education official told state lawmakers gathered at the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) Thursday that the department is "looking at amendments" to regulations and guidelines that tell states how to comply with the massive federal education-reform measure.
Dozens of states, including Utah, have explored legislation to challenge the cost, heavy-handedness or philosophy behind the 2-year-old law.
But the Bush administration and Congress are reluctant to amend the law itself because they would run the risk of dismantling it before it has a chance to play out, said Eugene Hickok, deputy secretary of education.
"There are a lot of people who would like to open up the statute to destroy the statute," he said.
In addition, he said, the law has only been in place for two full years - not enough time to understand the full spectrum of positive and negative implications.
"In education, we don't stick with anything," he said. "When it gets tough, we tend to back off."
The law requires states to make annual gains toward 100 percent student proficiency in reading and math. All students - regardless of race, economic advantage, disability or English ability - are supposed to be proficient in those subjects by 2013-2014.
Earlier this year, NCSL convened a task force to study the law's impact on states and to recommend possible changes.
- Ronnie Lynn