Indiana faces threat from feds over common core standards
Michael Conroy, Associated Press
Indiana, which recently became the first state to withdraw from the new Common Core standards and just last week adopted its own testing standards, is apparently facing possible suspension of its No Child Left Behind waiver, which could badly jeopardize the state's funding priorities.
The notice came in the form of a letter to Indiana State Superintendent Glenda Ritz from Deb Delisle, assistant U.S. Secretary of Education, Chalkbeat reports. The federal Department of Education wants to be convinced that the state standards are at least as challenging as those in the Common Core.
Indiana State Board of Education member Brad Oliver told Chalkbeat he has not seen the letter. “Based on what I know right now, I am very concerned that our waiver could be in jeopardy,” he said. “The repercussions of losing our waiver are more than just financial. It would immediately have an impact on local districts.”
"States didn't have to adopt the Common Core in order to get a federal waiver from the mandates of the No Child Left Behind Act," Education Week notes. "Instead, they simply have to adopt standards that will get students ready for college or the workforce. Common core counts, but a state can also use standards that have gotten the seal of approval from its post-secondary institutions. (Virginia, for example, went this route.)"
"Importantly, however, Indiana isn't being placed on 'high risk,' as Washington was, and as Arizona, Kansas, and Oregon are," Education Week adds. "So far, the department has shied away from using the high-risk label for states that reject the common core and tests. The administration has used it only for states that run afoul of its vision for teacher evaluation."
Ritz said in a statement Friday that her department is ready to work with the federal government to sort out the issues and noted that several states have been through similar waiver reviews.
“Moving forward, we will respond to USED within the next two months with amendments that capture steps we have taken to ensure full compliance with our flexibility waiver. I look forward to working with Secretary Duncan to improve education for all Indiana students,” Ritz said.
The pressure comes just days after Indiana's State Board of Education approved the new standards, the AP reported last week.
"The board voted 10-1 to endorse the new benchmarks to guide what students in kindergarten through 12th grade should learn in math and English, which were created by a panel of faculty from Indiana universities and representatives from science and technology industries."
"The vote came ahead of the state's July deadline and could end months of heated debate," the AP noted.
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