U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan is offering federal cash incentives to achieve one of his top priorities: developing national standards for reading and math to replace a current hodgepodge of benchmarks in the states.

Duncan said June 14 that the efforts of 46 states to develop common, internationally measured standards for student achievement would be bolstered by up to $350 million in federal funds to help them develop tests to assess those standards.

Duncan made the announcement in suburban Cary, N.C., at a conference for education experts and 20 governors hosted by the National Governors Association and the James B. Hunt, Jr.,...

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