The U.S. Department of Education announced Thursday it will extend Indiana’s No Child Left Behind waiver, exempting the state from requirements of the federal No Child Left Behind law.
A loss could have meant less flexibility in how federal education dollars are spent in local schools and requirements for all students to pass reading and math exams.
State superintendent Glenda Ritz said in a statement, “During my time as Superintendent, we have adopted the highest standards in Indiana history, modernized ISTEP and begun the process to strengthen our accountability system. Additionally, we have put in place a strong and positive grassroots system of outreach and support for Indiana schools. Today’s decision by the United States Department of Education validates the work that we have done.
Indiana was one of seven states targeted by the federal Department of Education earlier this year for not doing enough to put “college and career ready” academic standards in place. The feds put the waiver on conditional status in May, notified State Superintendent Glenda Ritz about the issue, and gave the state 60 days to submit documents to satisfy their concerns.
Assistant U.S. Secretary of Education Deborah Delisle wrote in her letter to Ritz the state proved, “I have also determined that Indiana’s monitoring next steps have been adequately addressed through submission of documentation and other information, including high-quality plans for implementation in the 2014-2015 school year.”
Indiana had more concerns to address in its waiver application than most other states, including submission of an outline for how officials will create and administer new tests in the 2014-15 school year to accompany the new state standards adopted after Indiana dumped the Common Core.
The original waiver was granted partly on the condition that Indiana adopt “college and career ready” academic standards – and the feds wanted proof that the new standards fit that description.
The areas where Indiana wasn’t meeting the federal government’s expectations were:
- College and career ready standards and assessments
- Intervention and monitoring in low performing schools
- Teacher and principal evaluations
- Community engagement and input on education policy issues
Ritz says the IDOE will work with the USED to improve the state’s teacher and principal evaluation system, one of the USED’s original concerns.
Indiana is among 42 states with a waiver from the federal law.