Congress Must Change No Child Left Behind: Duncan Education secretary promises to take action if Congress doesn't By Evann Gastaldo, Newser Staff Posted Jun 12, 2011 3:38 PM CDT 13 comments Comments Arne Duncan meets with People for the American Way Foundation's Young Elected Officials Network at the Washington Court Hotel on June 3, 2011 in Washington, DC. (Getty Images) (Newser) – If Congress doesn’t do something about No Child Left Behind, then Arne Duncan will. The education secretary promised to take steps to ease some of the sanctions for states that are trying to improve schools, if Congress doesn’t act on rewriting the 2002 law by the beginning of next school year. “We are hearing a tremendous amount of frustration across the country,” Duncan tells the Washington Post. “We are not going to sit back here and do nothing.” Teachers and state leaders have long complained the law, which sets a goal that all students be proficient in math and reading by 2014, is unrealistic and too strict. Schools that fall short of target pass rates on standardized tests face sanctions, which Duncan says hurt states that are attempting to make lasting improvements. “This is not about giving states a break,” he said, but about giving them the flexibility to make changes.