Twenty-seven states have indicated they will ask to opt out of No Child Left Behind since President Obama opened the door to waivers from the mandatory education program last month. States can seek waivers if they adopt higher standards than those stipulated in the 2002 law, which was one of the Bush administration’s landmark domestic policy initiatives, but has long been criticized by educators for its inflexibility. Education Secretary Arne Duncan is encouraging officials to apply for waivers because "No Child Left Behind is fundamentally broken." He said it’s “far too punitive” and prescriptive, and "led to a narrowing of the curriculum. None of those things are good for children, for education or, ultimately, for our country." So far states from California to Maine have said they want to leave NCLB behind.