ATLANTA (AP) -- The U.S. Department of Education has granted Georgia an extended exemption from certain parts of the No Child Left Behind Act.<br />
In a letter Thursday, federal education officials said Georgia has been given an extension for the 2014-15 school year because flexibility from some of the law's provisions have helped the state execute student achievement reforms.<br />
Federal officials cited the creation of statewide professional development programs, school accountability initiatives and platforms for student and teacher improvement as reforms that go beyond federal regulations.<br />
State school Superintendent John Barge said the extension is good news for Georgia students, parents and teachers.<br />
"For the last couple of years we have been holding schools accountable and rewarding them for the work they do in all subjects and with all students," he said in a statement. "The College and Career Ready Performance Index gives parents and communities a clearer and more accurate picture of their schools' effectiveness in educating our students."<br />
When the state applies for a renewal of the extension next year, federal education officials say the state Department of Education must show Georgia education standards have helped improve student progress and address achievement gaps.<br />
Extensions were also granted to education systems in Delaware, Minnesota, New York and South Carolina.<br />
A blustery winter storm dumped snow and ice across the West on Wednesday, making driving treacherous in the mountains from California to the Rockies and forcing residents and party-goers in some usually sun-soaked cities to bundle up for a frosty New Year's.
House Republican leaders rallied around one of their own, Whip Steve Scalise, on Tuesday after he said he regrets speaking 12 years ago to a white supremacist organization and condemns the views of such groups.
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