Published: Sep 23, 2011 5:49 PM EDT

A staggering 82 percent of schools next year could be labeled as failures under the No Child Left Behind law. That's why President Obama just announced a new way for states to side-step the law.

The President says Congress is taking too long to reform the Bush-era education law. So he has announced a way for states to opt out of parts of No Child Left Behind. Republicans say the move is outside the President's authority and undermines the work lawmakers are doing to reform the law.

The President announced Friday that states will be allowed to ask the Education Department to be exempt from some of the law's requirements if they meet certain conditions.

President Obama says the purpose isn't to give states a free pass, but the focus would be more on growth than on test scores. State's granted waivers would have more control over how troubled schools are handled. A majority of states are expected to apply.

Education Secretary Arne Duncan says the exemptions would not undermine efforts in Congress because the waivers could serve as a bridge until Congress acts. Lawmakers say they just need more time.

The waivers will be available early next year.