MINNEAPOLIS (AP) - In response to questions from a Minnesota congressman, U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan says he has the legal authority to grant waivers to the requirements of the No Child Left Behind education law.

In a letter dated Wednesday, Duncan says section 9401 of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act gives him the authority to waive most statutory requirements of the law if that's best for students.

Duncan has announced plans to grant waivers to the law, also known as No Child Left Behind, in exchange for states embracing the department's ideas on education reform.

Duncan is responding to the chairman of the House education committee, Rep. John Kline, R-Minn., who has questioned Duncan's authority to grant waivers "in exchange for reforms not authorized by Congress."

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