New York state is now one of 19 states that has been granted a waiver that allows for more flexibility when it comes to the Bush-era No Child Left Behind law.
The change will let schools avoid a deadline requiring all students to be proficient in reading and math by 2014.
The Federal Education Department approved the waivers for New York and eight other states earlier this week. Other states won waivers earlier this year.
According to State Education Commissioner John King, it takes away some of the rigidity of the federal law.
"The key element of the waiver is that we will be able to look at not only absolute performances of schools but also at growth. One of the weaknesses of No Child Left Behind is that sometimes you'd have schools identified as struggling that were actually making significant progress, but were missing an absolute target. So this will let us consider growth," King said.
King says there are other positive aspects of No Child Left Behind that will stay in place, including the academic measurements of subgroups within schools.
New York will still have to prove it's preparing children for college and careers.
This waiver also allows New York state more flexibility regarding federal funds that were sometimes tied to performance.