The Indiana Department of Education (IDOE) received the official notice on August 28 that the United States Department of Education has extended a waiver on certain aspects of the Federal No Child Left Behind law.
If the waiver had been denied, Indiana could have lost flexibility on how they use $230 million in Title I funding that is earmarked for interventions with students from low-income families who are failing, or most at risk, to meet the state‘s academic standards.
Glenda Ritz, Indiana Superintendent of Public Instruction, issued a statement on Thursday saying, “On behalf of Indiana’s schools, I am incredibly pleased to learn that our waiver request has been granted. The news means that our local schools throughout the state will receive much needed flexibility in how they utilize their federal dollars.” “This waiver extension will also allow Indiana to have continued flexibility in how we measure student’s performance and growth. “Ritz said.
Among other things, the US Department of Education was requesting clarification on the state’s plan on a new English and math standards test that would be added into the current end-of-course assessment (ECA) for 10th-graders. Other concerns centered on what is being done to help the state’s most troubled schools and executing teacher and principal evaluations.
If the state’s waiver application had been denied, Indiana schools would have had to resume using the federal accountability law and scraping the A-F grading system.
According to Ritz, the renewal process for the waiver will begin in about six months. Since there are schools in the state that have not yet tied teacher pay into evaluations and the state’s version does not spell out specifically how test scores count in evaluations, reporting throughout the state has not been uniform.
On Thursday, Ritz said, “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.”
Carol Anders Correspondent