WASHINGTON (AP) — Three more states have received permission to ignore parts of the federal No Child Left Behind education law.

The Education Department on Monday said Alaska, Hawaii and West Virginia schools qualified for exemptions. The decision now has given 37 states and the District of Columbia the OK to come up short on requirements for all students performing at grade level in math and reading by 2014.

Education Secretary Arne Duncan says the No Child Left Behind Law needs updates but Congress has not taken action. He says that without Congress’ action, he needs to give states waivers to implement their own customized school improvement plans.

Eight states, the Bureau of Indian Education, Puerto Rico and a coalition of California districts are waiting to hear about their waiver requests.

(© Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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