There’s been much talk recently about the possibility of mayoral control of Indianapolis Public Schools, including on the pages of the May 2 IBJ. Missing in this debate are the voices of the students and families who actually live within and are served by the school district.
This clarion call for a change in IPS governance isn’t coming from those directly served by our schools, but rather by outside interests whose children do not attend the district—or in some cases, don’t even attend public schools. They certainly aren’t the people who advocate local control of their schools by electing school board members who live among and serve IPS families.
If those pushing for mayoral control were directly connected to IPS, they would understand that positive change is happening within the district. Parents looking for quality educational choices are embracing the expansion of programs such as the Center for Inquiry (which opens a third site in August), and the creation of innovative initiatives such as Reggio Emilia, which debuts at William A. Bell School 60 this fall.
Children attending neighborhood schools such as Paul I. Miller School 114, Raymond F. Brandes School 65, Arlington Woods School 99 and Ernie Pyle School 90 boast some of the highest test scores in the district. Middle and high school parents and students are finding more options than ever before through new programs at Crispus Attucks, Shortridge and Broad Ripple high schools. In 2010, the entire senior class of Crispus Attucks graduated. Only one other Marion County high school boasted a 100-percent graduation rate.
When critics of IPS talk about taking over our schools, they say that, given five years, tremendous change can be made. Under the leadership of Superintendent Eugene G. White, great change has happened, and continues to be made. The proof can be found in our increased Indiana Statewide Testing for Educational Progress-Plus scores at all grade levels and our improved graduation rate.
Elizabeth Gore, president
Marianna R. Zaphiriou, vice president
Mary E. Busch, secretary
Michael D. Brown
Andrea J. Roof
IPS School Board