Education

Ed Board Members Question Ritz About NCLB Waiver

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May 14, 2014 — TheStatehouseFile.com

INDIANPOLIS – Members of the Indiana State Board of Education said on Tuesday they were frustrated they didn’t know sooner there would be conditions put on the state’s waiver from certain requirements of the federal No Child Left Behind law.

Indiana has until June 30 to submit its application to request a one-year extension of the state’s waiver or it won’t be renewed for the 2014-2015 school year. If it were taken away, schools would lose the flexibility of how they use some federal funds they receive to help disadvantaged children.

“This isn’t the blame game,” board member Gordon Hendry said. “But we are disappointed we found out the way we found out.”

Fellow IDOE board member Daniel Elsener shared Hendry’s concern on the way they were notified. Elsener wanted to know when Indiana Superintendent of Public Instruction Glenda Ritz found out there would be conditions on the waiver.

The state was evaluated in August 2013 on how well they complied with the waiver. The Department of Education was scheduled to hear back from the U.S. Education Department within 45 days, but because of the government shutdown the results were delayed.

Ritz said she received a call in December notifying her there would be conditions put on the waiver, but was not informed exactly what those would be. However, she said conditions had been expected for some time because lawmakers decided to pause – and then later to forbid – the implementation of Common Core standards, which had been part of the state’s original waiver request.

“We already knew we had places to work on,” Ritz said. “When I took office I knew we would have to hit the ground ready for implementation.”

Ritz said those implementations have been underway since August and would continue on a timeline set up to ensure the deadline is met.

Ritz said she and Gov. Mike Pence were officially informed in late April that conditions were placed on Indiana’s waiver.

The No Child Left Behind waiver allows Indiana to set different state standards for education without having to fully comply with the standards set by the federal law.

“I am very confident in the work of the department,” Ritz said. “We are anticipating a full renewal of the waiver.”

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