- The U.S. Department of Education is giving Indiana its NCLB waiver back.
- Months after Indiana opted out of the Common Core State Standards, its waiver status was thrown into question due to issues the department had with its teacher and principal evaluations, monitoring of education standards, and technical support provided to individual districts.
- Indiana Schools Superintendent Glenda Ritz and the state Board of Education scrambled to file a new waiver application, which was submitted June 30.
While Indiana's waiver was not revoked specifically because of standard issues, it is probably not a coincidence that, in the time it took to file a new waiver application, it also created new, Common Core-like standards. According to the Washington Post, after Indiana was faced with having its waiver revoked, "officials in that state worked through the spring and into summer to write new, replacement standards that largely resemble the Common Core and were certified by state university officials as rigorous enough to prepare students for college-level work."
Appeasing the federal government with standards that are almost indistinguishable from the Common Core, Indiana was able to finally relax knowing it would have the NLCB waiver.
Why is having a waiver so important? Without it, states are forced to revert to Bush-era mandates, which include more stringent oversight on federal spending and Adequate Yearly Progress in schools. If schools in states without a waiver fail to meet the somewhat unrealistic AYP goals, they are flagged as failing. Washington state, which lost its waiver earlier this year over teacher evaluation discrepancies, is currently suffering through this. While the state's students are showing little change in test scores, the AYP goals are getting tougher and therefore more of its schools are now labeled as "failing."