Newspaper article Evansville Courier & Press (2007-Current)

Education Waiver Grant Is at Risk ; Feds Say State Falling Short on Its Requirements Making the Grade

Newspaper article Evansville Courier & Press (2007-Current)

Education Waiver Grant Is at Risk ; Feds Say State Falling Short on Its Requirements Making the Grade

Article excerpt

INDIANAPOLIS - 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. Assistant Education Secretary Deborah Delisle told Indiana Superintendent of Public Instruction Glenda Ritz in a letter dated Thursday that federal monitors had identi- fied problems in the state's handling of the waiver during a review in August and September.

The requirements 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.

The issues 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, Delisle said.

"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.

Questions about 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". …

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