Video: No Child Left Behind gets face lift

updated 3/15/2010 10:38:55 AM ET 2010-03-15T14:38:55

President Barack Obama's proposal to overhaul education standards championed by his predecessor aims to broaden the focus beyond math and reading to "a well-rounded education," Education Secretary Arne Duncan says.

Reading and math are important, but so are social studies, science, the arts and recess, Duncan said Monday on ABC's "Good Morning America."

"We're looking to make some pretty dramatic changes here," Duncan said.

The proposal would overhaul the Bush administration's "No Child Left Behind" program. Rather than focusing on grade-level proficiency as the current law does, it would seek to ensure students are ready for college or a job. Duncan said it also would give educators more flexibility.

In an appearance Monday on MSNBC's 'Morning Joe,' Duncan said that in his travels throughout the country the biggest complaint he has heard is the narrowing of school curriculums.

"The previous law was too punative — too prescriptive," he said. "We want to make sure every child has a well-rounded education."

Duncan said the administration hopes Congress will pass the measure this year.

"We have to educate our way into a better economy," he said.

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