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PHOENIX -- Arizona has been granted a waiver to opt out of the No Child Left Behind federal education program.

Gov. Jan Brewer and schools Superintendent John Huppenthal announced Thursday that approval of the state's flexibility request will allow improvement in secondary education. The state will now avoid sanctions if its schools don't meet certain standards by 2014.

The standards include that 100 percent of students be proficient in reading and math.

"I'm grateful for this reprieve from federal red tape, allowing our teachers and administrators the flexibility they require to meet the needs of Arizona students," said Brewer.

In its place, the Education Department has approved state plans aimed at improving low-performing schools, increasing teacher efficiency and preparing students for college and careers.

Arizona is one of 32 states and the District of Columbia, that sought relief from the regulations put in place by President George W. Bush in 2001. Four other states have outstanding requests.

In the West, Colorado, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah and Washington also have waivers.

The Associated Press contributed to this article.

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