May 13, 2014

 

The State Board of Education convened an “emergency” meeting today to discuss the U.S. Department of Education’s monitoring report, which places a condition on Indiana’s flexibility waiver.

 

As we expected – yet far more blatant than anticipated – the meeting quickly turned into a political stunt and an interrogation by the State Board members regarding the Indiana Department of Education’s ability to comply with the federal requirements under No Child Left Behind.

 

It took nearly two hours into the meeting before DOE staff could begin their presentation explaining steps taken thus far to address compliance. The delay was caused by continuous interruptions by board members.

 

DOE staff asserted again and again that the presentation covered the board members’ questions if they could simply be given the opportunity to move forward. However, board members repeatedly interjected with tangential statements and aggressive questioning that was tantamount to bullying.

 

The meeting was intended to provide an update on the work the department is currently performing to address some of the clarifications needed, as well as provide explanations about the timeline and next steps.

 

State Superintendent Glenda Ritz has assured the public that the DOE is dedicated to clearing up the issues and fully expects to maintain the state’s waiver.

 

What should have been a factual and informative presentation devolved into a political dog and pony show. ISTA commends Superintendent Ritz and the Department of Education for their dedicated efforts to ensure that Indiana maintains its waiver.