— Indiana's efforts to set its own educational course could be at risk if
the state fails to correct issues with the implementation of its No Child
Left Behind waiver, the U.S. Department of Education said.
Education Secretary Deborah Delisle told schools Superintendent Glenda
Ritz in a letter dated Thursday that federal monitors had identified
problems in the state's handling of the waiver during a review in August
for the waiver were crafted and approved under former Schools
Superintendent Tony Bennett, but the implementation has been left to Ritz,
who defeated Bennett in the 2012 election.
include handling of teacher and principal evaluations, monitoring of
college- and career-ready standards and technical assistance for local
school districts. In many cases, the federal monitors say Indiana has
failed to follow through on promises it made in its initial waiver plan.
Delisle said she
was granting conditional approval of Indiana's request for a waiver but
said the state must address numerous steps identified in the letter or
risk losing its waiver.
The state has 60
days from its receipt of the letter to respond to the recommended steps,
"We have been in
regular contact with the (Education Department) explaining what we're
doing here in Indiana, particularly with respect to monitoring of focus
schools," said Ritz spokesman Daniel Altman
He said the state
has already begun addressing many of the problems identified by the
federal monitors and pointed to the creation of new outreach coordinators
last year to work with local school districts.
the teacher evaluations should be directed at state lawmakers, who
approved the system in 2011, Altman said. Ritz was criticized last month
by supporters of teacher evaluations after the state released data showing
that it ranked only 2 percent of teachers as "needing improvement".
Indiana was one
of 10 states to receive a waiver from the landmark education law in 2012.
No Child Left Behind was a hallmark of President George W. Bush's
administration and aimed to get all children up to par in math and reading
by 2014. But state education leaders increasingly complained that the goal
excused from following the law were exempt from the 2014 deadline but had
to submit plans showing how they would prepare children for college and
careers, set new targets for improving achievement among all students,
reward the best-performing schools and focus help on the ones doing the
The states also
were given the freedom to use science, social studies and other subjects
to measure student progress.
the first state to lose its waiver last week after it refused to implement
teacher evaluations. Education Week reported last summer that Arizona,
Oregon and Utah had their waivers placed on "high risk" over teacher
evaluations, the same status as Washington before losing its waiver.
conditional status is a step below "high risk". If the state were to lose
its waiver, it would lose control over more than $100 million in federal
"Title I" education funds.
setback to Indiana's No Child waiver comes just days after the state
approved new education standards. State lawmakers voted this year to make
Indiana the first state to withdraw from the national Common Core
means Indiana will have to resubmit its No Child waiver request.
Gov. Mike Pence, who signed the measure withdrawing Indiana from Common
Core, did not respond to requests for comment Friday.