BALTIMORE (AP) — Maryland is getting a waiver from the federal No Child Left Behind law.

The waiver — one of eight announced by the U.S. Department of Education on Tuesday and one of 19 total — was granted in exchange for promises to improve how students are prepared and evaluated.

Maryland’s interim schools Superintendent Bernard Sadusky says the state is not turning its back on accountability, but concentrating on schools with the greatest needs.

Officials say the flexibility plan parallels the state’s Race to the Top project.

The plan will reset annual progress goals for the next six years. By 2017, each school is expected to halve its percentage of non-proficient students. Maryland will also get some flexibility in how it recognizes schools making progress and focuses on schools that need intervention.

(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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