MARION COUNTY, Ind. (WISH) — The State Board of Education met today to discuss the possibility of losing Indiana’s No Child Left Behind waiver. The waiver allows flexibility in how Indiana schools use more than $250 million in federal funding each year.
State Superintendent of Public Instruction Glenda Ritz provided an update to the state board on how she and other state leaders are working to prove they meet the requirements to keep the waiver. The main areas of concern are the monitoring of low performing schools and implementing college and career ready standards with an assessment to test them.
The findings stem from an evaluation done August 21 & 22, 2013. State education officials said in the meeting that the government shutdown slowed the report, but Ritz was hoping to receive it in October. Instead she received word at the end of April and received a letter dated May 1 last week.
State board member Brad Oliver said he finds it hard to believe that Ritz and her staff didn’t see this coming before the May 1 letter. He says that’s when he found out a condition had been placed on Indiana’s waiver. The state receives about $266-million annually from the federal government. The waiver allows spending flexibility for about 20-percent of those funds.
Ritz said she knew some sort of amendments would need to be presented to their waiver application, but didn’t know anything specifically until she received the letter. She said Indiana’s move away from Common Core played a part in the findings. Ritz said it’s hard to implement plans that are so new, but she’s confident Indiana will retain its waiver. Two other state, Minnesota and Virginia, have obtained waivers while operating with a plan other than Common Core.
The state has until June 30 to prove to the U.S. Department of Education it is meeting all requirements. If that deadline is missed, the waiver is not lost immediately. It will be labeled ‘high risk.’