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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. If what you stated is true, then this article is entirely inaccurate. "State sells bonds" is same as "State borrows money". Supposedly the company will "pay for them". But since we are paying the company, we are still paying for this road with borrowed money, even though the state has $2 billion in the bank.

  2. Andrew hit the nail on the head. AMTRAK provides terrible service and that is why the state has found a contractor to improve the service. More trips, on-time performance, better times, cleanliness and adequate or better restrooms. WI-FI and food service will also be provided. Transit from outlying areas will also be provided. I wouldn't take it the way it is but with the above services and marketing of the service,ridership will improve and more folks will explore Indy and may even want to move here.

  3. They could take the property using eminent domain and save money by not paying the church or building a soccer field and a new driveway. Ctrwd has monthly meetings open to all customers of the district. The meetings are listed and if the customers really cared that much they would show. Ctrwd works hard in every way they can to make sure the customer is put first. Overflows damage the surrounding environment and cost a lot of money every year. There have been many upgrades done through the years to help not send flow to Carmel. Even with the upgrades ctrwd cannot always keep up. I understand how a storage tank could be an eye sore, but has anyone thought to look at other lift stations or storage tanks. Most lift stations are right in the middle of neighborhoods. Some close to schools and soccer fields, and some right in back yards, or at least next to a back yard. We all have to work together to come up with a proper solution. The proposed solution by ctrwd is the best one offered so far.

  4. Fox has comments from several people that seem to have some inside information. I would refer to their website. Changed my whole opionion of this story.

  5. This place is great! I'm piggy backing and saying the Cobb salad is great. But the ribs are awesome. $6.49 for ribs and 2 sides?! They're delicious. If you work downtown, head over there.

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