State names potential turnaround operators for failing schools

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The state of Indiana identified the three private school-management organizations it could tap to help improve the performance of six struggling Indianapolis public schools and one in Gary.

New York-based EdisonLearning, Florida-based Charters Schools USA Inc. and Indianapolis-based EdPower were selected by the Indiana Department of Education to be potential turnaround school operators. EdPower is a school-management arm of the Charles A. Tindley charter school in Indianapolis.

But it won’t be until next month that the department, with the approval of the State Board of Education, determines whether those companies will actually be tapped to work in an Indiana school.

The local schools—all part of the Indianapolis Public Schools district—that will face an intervention from the state are Arlington High School, Broad Ripple High School, Donnan Middle School, Manual High School, Howe Community School and Washington Community School.

Also, the Roosevelt Career & Technical Academy in Gary was deemed to need some sort of state intervention. The state could close the schools, merge them with a higher performing school, approve a turnaround plan led by existing school management, or bring in one of the three outside operators.

“These schools have failed their children for far too long,” said Tony Bennett, Indiana’s superintendent of public instruction, at a press conference Friday morning. “The state will have the courage to act.”

All seven schools have been on academic probation for six years, the lowest category possible based on their student scores and pass rates on the state standardized ISTEP and End-of-Course Assessment tests.

According to a 1999 law, schools in the probationary category for six straight years can be taken over by the state. This is the first year the state has taken such action.

Eleven other school had been on academic probation for five straight years, but managed to improve their scores enough to dodge state takeover.  That list included one school from IPS, Northwest High School.

IPS Superintendent Eugene White said he would appeal some of the scores the Department of Education assigned to IPS schools, which schools can do each year. Bennett said he would consider such an appeal.

Also, three schools from South Bend, two from Fort Wayne and two from Hammond escaped state takeover after five straight years of academic probation.

Bennett congratulated those schools, but added that their work toward improvement still has a long way to go.

“The journey of those 11 schools is just beginning,” Bennett said.



    I partially agree with Dupree, but I don't think you can stereotype the students in IPS. In that manner, your thinking is a little outdated, by saying that "nearly all of the students are fatherless". Recent statistics show that two-parent households are the norm and not the exception today.

    And it's unfair to assume that all IPS students are low-income because I assume, the implication of "single parent reward program in the 1970s" means that the students are on welfare, or the product of welfare. Again, check the facts. More people have applied for public assistance because of lay-offs but the social assistance of the past is just that-- in the past. Public assistance programs have changed dramatically, and the people who are on public assistance today have a much different look than yesterday's social assistance recipients.

    Students ARE failing because of parents, not entirely because of the schools. Some parents do not know HOW to help their children succeed in school, and other parents know how, but lack the time that it requires to educate their children. You can add money, but time is more important for parents because you can go to public libraries, turn off the TV, take away the video games, and monitor the child's learning in reading, math, science, and social studies.

    So in a way, you're right-- the school's haven't failed by themselves; nevertheless, the stereotyping is wrong.
  • School Takeover
    I am interested to see if the schools that will be taken over by the private firms will be kept on the same budget as they were before. Also, it will be interesting to see if the schools keep the same population. That is, in an effort to make these schools better, will students who have had difficulties with attendance, behavior and or grades be shipped to another school by the private firms?
    I'm all for accountability, as long as it goes all the way around. I am willing to give Bennett the chance to succeed in his mission, but I don't think he has any idea what he has gotten himself into with State takeover...
  • Right On!
    Dupree, I couldn't have said it better.
  • turnaround operators
    mike alte---Who does Tony Bennet think he is and where did he crawl out of. When our governor is gone, lets send Bennett with him, we won"t miss either one of them.
  • Takeovers
    If anything is going to be taken over, it ought to be the entire school system. Taking over six Indianapolis High Schools is a lot like claiming you have a plan to eliminate an accident while the victims are on the way to the hospital. You start fixing the problem when the kids enter the system, not a couple of years before they leave.

    "Fixing" a magnet school ought to be even more problematic. If you keep Broad Ripple as a performing arts magnet, and somehow drastically change that, families that chose the magnet ought to be able to re-think their choice.

    Take over, or even better, break up IPS. Taking over an individual school, especially one that families can opt into or out of, is pretty much an exercise in futility.
  • Schools not failed...bad students
    I must continue to question how one can say the school is failing when one looks at the student population for that school. The students are nearly all fatherless children in very unstable houses. No teacher, school, or state run organization (for the money available) can have success. And "No Child Left Behind"....many of these children should be left behind. We don’t have enough money that each student can have a private mentor.

    It is time to stop bashing public schools. Bad government policy made these children. Before the single parent reward programs in the 1970's, the IPS schools had much greater student success. The teachers and schools didn't change. The kids changed with the state supported family destruction.

    Paying tax dollars to those who donate to our politicians will not actually help anyone outside the politicians and their partners in private school management.


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