Texas Education Commissioner Michael Williams' decision to seek an exemption from the No Child Left Behind law could simplify the often-confusing accountability measures for public and charter schools.Texas schools certainly need a waiver: A large number won't meet the goal of having all children proficient in reading and math by 2014, and the transition to an ostensibly tougher state standardized testing regime has made the NCLB standards even more elusive.In a Thursday letter to superintendents, Williams said that early next year the Texas Education Agency will ask the U.S. Education Department for flexibility in determining which campuses are making adequate academic progress; allocating federal Title I funds aimed at students in struggling, low-income schools; setting penalties for campuses that don't meet standards; and designating highly qualified teachers.(bit.ly/RQbIpq)Williams' letter contains some truths long obvious to Texas educators:Congress' failure to reauthorize an updated NCLB "has created an obsolete system that does not adequately reflect the accomplishments of the state's schools." Also, having to comply with both state and federal standards that don't cleanly overlap "takes valuable resources and time away from the intent and focus of improving student achievement and school accountability."More than 30 others states have received an NCLB exemption in exchange for adopting federal core curriculum standards. But Gov. Rick Perry has continually resisted that option in favor of a state-determined curriculum. The question, then, is whether Texas' insistence on going its own way will hamper the ability to secure a more general waiver.The public can comment until Sept. 27. (e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org) Those who actually work in the trenches should be able to help make a persuasive case for making accountability simpler and more meaningful.