Education Secretary Arne Duncan will override a provision of the No Child Left Behind law that requires all students to meet proficiency standards in math and reading by 2014. Instead, the Obama administration is encouraging states that need them to begin applying next month for waivers, which will be awarded to states that have their own testing and accountability programs and meet other standards. Duncan said he decided to bypass the federal education law -- which he called a "slow-motion train wreck" -- because states no longer could wait for Congress to act on a revised law, although some have questioned whether Duncan has this authority.

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