82 percent of US schools may be labeled 'failing'

WASHINGTON, DC (WSFA) - Education Secretary Arne Duncan estimates a staggering 82 percent of U.S. schools could be labeled as "failing" under the nation's No Child Left Behind Act this year, and he's urging lawmakers to rewrite the Bush-era act.

"No Child Left Behind is broken and we need to fix it now," said Duncan during testimony before the House Committee on Education and the Workforce.

The Education Department's calculations, released Wednesday, indicate that the number of schools not meeting targets will explode from 37 to 82 percent in 2011. Those schools will subsequently face sanctions up to closure.

"This law has created dozens of ways for schools to fail and very few ways to help them succeed," Duncan said. "We should get out of the business of labeling schools as failures and create a new law that is fair and flexible, and focused on the schools and students most at risk," Duncan continued.

No Child Left Behind requires all U.S. public schools to meet annual targets, called Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP), with the goal of making every student proficient in reading or language arts and math by 2014.

The Obama administration wants to reform NCLB so that it recognizes and rewards high-poverty schools and districts that show improvement based on progress and growth.

Copyright 2011 WSFA 12 News. The Associated Press contributed to this report. All rights reserved.