Arne Duncan promised to take action on No Child Left Behind if Congress didn't, and now he's making good on that promise. With efforts to reform the controversial 2002 education law stalled in Congress, the Obama administration will allow states to apply to be exempted from the law. More details are due next month, when applications for the waivers will start being accepted. States had been "clamoring" for some sort of action, Duncan says—"desperately."
Many state officials were concerned about meeting requirements seen as unrealistic, including the 2014 deadline by which time schools will face sanctions if 100% of students are not proficient in reading and math. Waivers will be granted to states that adopt a "flexible and targeted" accountability system as well as standards to prepare students for college and careers, the Washington Post reports. (Read more No Child Left Behind stories.)