Federal Education Officials Extend Indiana’s NCLB Waiver

Posted On August 29, 2014

By Mike Perleberg

Glenda Ritz observes special education students at Lawrenceburg Central Elementary on Wednesday, February 12. File photo/Mike Perleberg, Eagle 99.3

Glenda Ritz observes special education students at Lawrenceburg Central Elementary on Wednesday, February 12.
File photo/Mike Perleberg, Eagle 99.3

(Indianapolis, Ind.) – Indiana is getting a one-year extension on its No Child Left Behind education law waiver.

The state was told by the U.S. Department of Education in April that its waiver was in jeopardy because of a failure to follow through on promises made in the original waiver plan.

Thursday’s decision by the USDOE and U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan means Indiana’s schools will not lose flexibility over how they invest Title I federal education dollars.  Indiana will also get the continued ability to decide how to measure student performance and growth.

“Today’s decision by the United States Department of Education validates the work that we have done,” said Indiana Superintendent of Public Instruction Glenda Ritz.

“I want to thank the members of the Indiana Department of Education for the incredible work they did to get this waiver for our schools. I truly appreciate their efforts as they work alongside educators, parents, community leaders and local organizations to meet the needs of Indiana’s children.”

Ritz also credited Indiana’s two U.S. Senators – Dan Coats (R) and Joe Donnelly (D) – and the entire Indiana Congressional delegation for their support.

Indiana was first granted the NCLB waiver along with nine other states in 2012. This year, state lawmakers voted to remove Indiana from participation in the national Common Core education standards in favor of the state creating and adopting its own classroom standards. A visit by USDOE officials last year also raised questions.

When the waiver’s status was left in limbo earlier this year, it strained relations between Ritz – a Democrat – and the largely Republican governor-appointed Indiana State Board of Education.

With the extension, Governor Mike Pence in a statement congratulated Ritz, her staff at the IDOE, and the State Board of Education as well as other contributors to a successful outcome for the state.

“The collaborative work of all stakeholders involved was instrumental in successfully retaining our waiver,” Pence said. “Indiana will continue to work with the U.S. Department of Education to address any remaining implementation challenges with respect to school and educator accountability requirements, which were established under state law.

“With this renewed flexibility, our state will work every day to ensure that all Hoosier children have access to a quality school, that good teachers are rewarded, and that struggling schools get the help they need to improve.”

Pence had met with Duncan in May and June about the waiver, and also sent a letter to the education secretary trying to sway the USDOE to extend Indiana’s waiver.


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