Education, From The Capitol To The Classroom

U.S. Dept. Of Education: Indiana At Risk Of Losing Its NCLB Waiver

    A seventh grader works on a laptop owned by her school in the classroom.

    Kyle Stokes / StateImpact Indiana

    A seventh grader works on a laptop owned by her school in the classroom.

    The U.S. Department of Education released a report today showing Indiana is not in full compliance with the No Child Left Behind waiver requirements and is at risk of losing its waiver.

    The Department of Education conducted a review of the state’s procedures last August.

    “Based on the number of significant ‘next steps’ in the monitoring report, I am placing a condition on the approval of IDOE’s ESEA’s [Elementary and Secondary Education Act, which the No Child Left Behind Act replaced] flexibility request. In order to have this condition removed, IDOE most address all ‘next steps’ in the monitoring report and submit evidence that it has done so as part of its extension request,” U.S. Department of Education Assistant Secretary Deborah Delisle said in a letter to State Superintendent Glenda Ritz.

    As we’ve reported, the NCLB waiver means Indiana does not have to comply with yearly progress goals. Instead, Indiana officials set their own goal, requiring every Indiana school to earn a state letter grade of an A. Those that didn’t were required to improve by two letter grades and earn no worse than a C by 2020.

    Indiana Public Broadcasting’s Brandon Smith explains what would happen if Indiana lost its waiver:

    “…Hoosier schools would have to comply with federal accountability standards and would be at risk of losing federal education dollars.

    The letter from the federal Department of Education is based on a report from an assessment visit federal officials took to Indiana last August.

    It does not take into account the new education standards adopted this week by the Board of Education.”

    In a statement, State Superintendent Glenda Ritz says her department is prepared to demonstrate full compliance with the federal waiver:

    “To address the issue of college and career ready assessments, the Department has undertaken the most extensive review and overhaul of academic standards in Indiana’s history. That process culminated in Monday’s adoption of Indiana Academic Standards. I have also recently formed the Assessment sub-committee of the Indiana State Board of Education that will work to align our new college and career ready standards with our assessments

    “With regards to school monitoring, I created the division of Outreach for School Improvement.  In August of 2013, this division was still in its infancy.  However, since August, our Outreach Coordinators have been supporting and monitoring Focus and Priority schools to improve student outcomes throughout the state.”

    The Superintendent goes on to say federal education officials have already indicated they’re pleased with Indiana’s progress and that she plans to work with the Department of Education to explain how Indiana is coming into full compliance with the waiver.

    In a statement, Governor Mike Pence expressed concern and disappointment at the federal report and says he’s urging the State Board of Education to create a remediation plan that will help ensure Indiana does not lose its waiver.


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