The Obama administration has issued a clear warning to the first state to drop the Common Core State Standards.
Indiana Gov. Mike Pence signs legislation, Monday, March 24, 2014 at the Indiana Career Council Meeting at the Indiana State Library. Indiana is the first state to withdraw from the Common Core reading and math standards that were adopted by most states around the country. (AP Photo/The Indianapolis Star, Rob Goebel)
The U. S. Department of Education said in a letter to Indiana Superintendent of Public Instruction Glenda Ritz that the state must prove its own standards are just as challenging, or else risk of losing its waiver from the Bush-era No Child Left Behind law and have its federal funding in jeopardy.
“Because the [Indiana Department of Education] will no longer implement those standards, IDOE must amend its [Elementary and Secondary Education Act] flexibility request and provide evidence that its new standards are certified by a state network of [Institutions of Higher Education] that students who meet the standards will not need remedial coursework at the postsecondary level,” the letter says.
Indiana is the first of the 44 states that adopted Common Core to repeal the controversial K-12 math and English standards.
Ritz said in a statement she is confident in the state’s new standards and said her department would “demonstrate full compliance with the flexibility waiver.”
“To address the issue of college and career-ready assessments, the department has undertaken the most extensive review and overhaul of academic standards in Indiana’s history,” Ritz said. “Moving forward, we will respond to USED within the next two months with amendments that capture steps we have taken to ensure full compliance with our flexibility waiver."
The letter from the U.S. Education Department demonstrates “just how weak the phrases ‘state-led’ and ‘voluntary’ became when used to describe Common Core,” wrote Brittany Corona, a domestic policy researcher at the Heritage Foundation.
When the Indiana legislature passed the repeal of Common Core, the bill stated new standards would be in place by July 1, in time for the start of the 2014-2015 school year.
“The problem is that the administration does not view its new standards or testing regime as ‘meeting expectations’ – despite the fact Indiana’s pre-Common Core state standards were ranked among the highest in the nation,” Corona added.
Other Indiana education officials are concerned; Indiana State Board of Education member Brad Oliver said losing the waiver could be costly.
“Based on what I know right now, I am very concerned that our waiver could be in jeopardy," he said. "The repercussions of losing our waiver are more than just financial. It would immediately have an impact on local districts."
(H/T: The Brockton Enterprise News)