* Greg Hinz…
Who’s going to back down?
That’s the question that no one is answering after I reported earlier in the week that the U.S. Department of Education of threatening to cut off nearly $1.2 billion in Illinois school aid because of a student-testing flap with Chicago Public Schools.
The clash effectively pits Education Secretary Arne Duncan, who once headed CPS, against the woman who now holds that job, Barbara Byrd-Bennett. Eventually, it also potentially pits Gov. Bruce Rauner against Mayor Rahm Emanuel, because the threatened loss of funds could affect not only Chicago, which is refusing in most schools to use a new test linked to the national Common Core standards, but school aid statewide, which Rauner has made a priority.
Asked if those involved are making any progress resolving the standoff, Duncan’s spokeswoman declined to comment, saying the letter to the Illinois State Board of Education that threatened to hold up the $1.2 billion will have to speak for itself.
CPS’ spokesman says he’s still gathering information—for two days now. And aides to Rauner and Emanuel aren’t saying, though they clearly know what’s going on.
* Well, Christopher Koch, the state’s Superintendent of Education, and James Meeks, the State Board of Education Chairman, just sent a letter to all local superintendents and school board chairs that explicitly threatens Chicago with a cutoff of state funding…
ISBE is also prepared to take recognition action pursuant to 23 Ill Admin. Code 1.20 against any district that fails to properly administer the PARCC exam to all students. As you are aware, a non-recognized district will lose General State Aid funding.
Please understand that if a district does not administer the assessment, it not only places the district at risk of losing federal funds but it also places the entire State at risk of losing federal funds. According to communications with USDOE, if ISBE fails to sanction a district for failure to test, USDOE will withhold federal funds from the State. In addition, USDOE has made clear that noncompliance with the assessment requirement also places Illinois at risk of losing its No Child Left Behind (NCLB) waiver.
ISBE must and will enforce the provisions of ESEA as required by federal law so that ISBE does not place the State at risk of action by the USDOE and because we are committed to implementing valid and reliable performance measures for our schools.