The U.S. Department of Education (USDOE) recently released a monitoring report questioning whether Indiana has met its commitments to comply with its flexibility waiver the state received to avoid having to meet performance requirements set forth in the federal No Child Left Behind law.
Under the terms of the USDOE report, Indiana has 60 days to submit a plan outlining the steps it will take to demonstrate that Indiana will be college- and career-ready by 2014-15.
The state board certainly deserves an update on the state’s waiver status and to learn of the DOE’s plan to meet compliance. However, it is concerning to us that once again State Board of Education members are politicizing the situation by its recently called “emergency” meeting.
The state board members’ actions resemble both an alarmist and politically-motivated response that turns this new speed-bump that everyone (including the General Assembly, the Governor, and the board members themselves), knew was coming in one form or another once Common Core was “paused” in Indiana last year and then replaced with our own state-developed college- and career-ready standards this year.
Everyone involved, including the children most affected, would benefit more by working together.
Let’s look at the facts.
- The federal waiver report from USDOE includes only findings from January 2012 to August 2013 and does not address the significant work that the DOE has already completed. The DOE continues to do its due diligence to ensure the waiver remains intact.
- The DOE has adequately addressed the issue of college- and career-ready assessments by completing an extensive and rigorous review of the standards. The State Board of Education adopted those standards on April 28th.
- Superintendent Ritz has formed a sub-committee on assessments to align the new standards with the college- and career-ready assessment that will be selected to meet federal compliance.
- Indiana is not alone in being questioned by the USDOE regarding waiver status. Washington has already lost its NCLB waiver, the first to do so. Arizona, Kansas and Oregon have been placed on a ‘high risk’ status for being close to losing their waiver by the USDOE. Meanwhile, Indiana has only received a “condition” on its waiver.
We suggest that the state board members and other critics seeking to politicize this issue take a step back and allow Superintendent Ritz to address the issues raised by the USDOE.