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2011 NEWSMAKER: Eugene White in crosshairs as reformers target IPS

IBJ Staff
December 24, 2011
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Newsmakers
Simon
                              takes on Amazon.com Melangton Daniels White in crosshairs as reformers target IPS

There’s a pitched battle under way in K-12 education as reform advocates and charter schools challenge traditional institutions such as teachers’ unions and education schools.

In the middle of these clashing armies stands Eugene White, superintendent of Indianapolis Public Schools, the state’s largest school district. The 64-year-old, who has twice been named Indiana’s superintendent of the year, has both embraced and bristled at changes rumbling through Indiana’s public schools.

IPS is the eye of the storm for the expanding school-choice initiatives in Indiana. It has lost more than 5,000 students to charter schools, roughly 25 of which lie within its boundaries. IPS also saw 350 of its students sign up for new vouchers, which are scholarships to private schools paid for by taxpayers.

But in his six years at IPS’ helm, White has tried to fight choice with choice, launching a dizzying array of magnet schools that draw students from the entire district—or even beyond it—instead of a limited geographic area.

White also has worked with education reform groups, such as Indianapolis-based The Mind Trust, to bring programs such as Teach for America and the New Teacher Project to Indianapolis. Both offer ways for non-education majors to get into the teaching profession.

He even praised the Legislature for curtailing the rights of teachers’ unions, which forced IPS to pay, promote and dismiss educators based solely on seniority and college credits earned. He said that and other changes would “allow me to get creative.”

White White

But White bitterly opposed the decision by Indiana’s reform-minded state schools chief Tony Bennett to take over control of four poor-performing IPS schools in August—even filing a lawsuit to challenge the decision on two of them.

And at the end of the year, White accused The Mind Trust and Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard of trying to “flood” IPS with charter schools. He also dismissed The Mind Trust’s efforts to put Ballard in charge of the IPS school board and to gut what it called the “bloated bureaucracy” of the district’s central office.

But White, a former basketball star from Alabama, said he’s spoiling for the fight.

“What they’re going to do is create a situation where they’re going to force more competition and more choice. I don’t think we’re going to lose that battle,” White said.•
 

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  1. Can your dog sign a marriage license or personally state that he wishes to join you in a legal union? If not then no, you cannot marry him. When you teach him to read, write, and speak a discernible language, then maybe you'll have a reasonable argument. Thanks for playing!

  2. Look no further than Mike Rowe, the former host of dirty jobs, who was also a classically trained singer.

  3. Current law states income taxes are paid to the county of residence not county of income source. The most likely scenario would be some alteration of the income tax distribution formula so money earned in Marion co. would go to Marion Co by residents of other counties would partially be distributed to Marion co. as opposed to now where the entirety is held by the resident's county.

  4. This is more same-old, same-old from a new generation of non-progressive 'progressives and fear mongers. One only needs to look at the economic havoc being experienced in California to understand the effect of drought on economies and people's lives. The same mindset in California turned a blind eye to the growth of population and water needs in California, defeating proposal after proposal to build reservoirs, improve water storage and delivery infrastructure...and the price now being paid for putting the demands of a raucous minority ahead of the needs of many. Some people never, never learn..

  5. I wonder if I can marry him too? Considering we are both males, wouldn't that be a same sex marriage as well? If they don't honor it, I'll scream discrimination just like all these people have....

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