U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan blasted the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 on Monday after the White House announced that it would allow states to opt-out of the law.

"The law No Child Left Behind as it currently stands is four years overdue for being rewritten," he said. "It is far too punitive, it is far too prescriptive, led to a dumbing-down of standards, led to a narrowing of the curriculum. At a time when we have to get better, faster education than we ever have, we can't afford to have the law of the land be one that has so many perverse incentives or disincentives for the kind of progress we want to see."

The law was originally proposed by the administration of George W. Bush. It targets underperforming schools and sanctions those that don't meet set federal standards.

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