"The home environment of the student does have an impact on how they behave and perform in school," said Dr. Tamekia Brown, principal at Maumelle High School.
Brown said the one-size-fits-all approach mandated by the No Child Left Behind law is hard to follow when students learn on different levels. That's why Arkansas will join other states requesting an exemption from those strict requirements.
"What we're trying to do is craft a plan that takes reality into account but at the same time is ambitious," said Seth Blomeley, spokesman for the Arkansas Department of Education.
Blomeley said the states have to provide tactics that cater to their students. Arkansas leaders hope the state's college and career readiness strategies, teacher evaluations, and accountability system will not only exempt them from the law, but also show their plan to reach every student, no matter their achievement level.
"We're still going to have goals for schools to increase their performance to have their students to do better each year," said Blomeley.
State leaders have to submit their exemption request by February 21. It could take months before it's known if the exemption has been granted.