The waiver gives Indiana flexibility in meeting certain federal requirements, replacing them with state ?requirements.
Indiana submitted an application to renew at the end of June, but the matter wasn’t easily settled this summer.
The USDOE warned Indiana in early May that it might lose waiver privileges.
The deal Indiana originally requested in 2012 was granted with the understanding the state would adhere to Common Core academic standards, said Jill Shedd, assistant dean for teacher education at the IU School of Education.
When Indiana pulled out of Common Core this March, it no longer fulfilled certain portions of the waiver regarding evaluations of student progress and the effectiveness of teachers and schools.
The ISTEP tests, which factor into those evaluations, had to be changed to fit the state’s new standards.
“Any test and any accountability process that was in the original waiver application was moved because the original academic standards in our state changed,” Shedd said.
The original waiver allowed Indiana to choose how to assess its students, but those assessment methods had to be approved by the USDOE to be covered in the deal.
That meant an ISTEP overhaul and a new waiver request detailing how the state would meet its new academic ?standards.
“It was all quite related,” Shedd said. “If they hadn’t approved the test, we wouldn’t have anything.”
In addition to teacher and school evaluations, losing the waiver would have meant a loss of federal funding, Shedd said.
Shedd said she was not sure exactly how much ?federal funding made up the budgets of local schools. The USDOE website shows Title I legislation, meant to help low-income students, is covered under No Child Left Behind funding. The federal government provides money for literacy programs and dropout prevention.
Shedd called this a kind of domino effect. “First, the department of education had to approve the test,” she said. “And the test is a significant part of how the department and the board of education determine the accountability of school corporations, and so the department had to approve that process.”