White as IPS savior

December 3, 2007
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You hear it over and over. Lots of young families would live downtown, or in the surrounding neighborhoods, if Indianapolis Public Schools didnâ??t have a poor reputation. Rather than risk their childrenâ??s education, they bolt for township schools or even adjoining counties.

Whether the rap is fair or not, parents are voting with their feet. IPS enrollment has tumbled as parents leave the district or opt for one of the charter schools operating within IPSâ?? boundaries.

As reporter Tracy Donhardt wrote in this weekendâ??s IBJ, Superintendent Eugene White is remaking the district with sweeping initiatives aimed at improving student performance and slashing the dropout rate.

His efforts arenâ??t universally lauded. Some teachers complain heâ??s trying to do too much too fast, or makes major changes without getting their input.

What do you think of the job White is doing? Is he making IPS attractive?

Read the story.
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  • Having been with Dr. White in Washington Township's unofficial redisctricting along with many other changes, I am not a fan of his. We made the choice not to use Washington Township schools after the massive changes Dr. White did, including ruining the PTA at Fox Hill Elementary. We choose to go private rather than move, while many of our neighbors moved away. I would not move to IPS as the school system is not worthy of my tax dollars. There are a couple of schools doing well including the one in Merdian Kessler, but there needs to be a lot more proof in his methods and styles. Parental or family involvement must increase significantly to make IPS work. Good luck.
  • IPS's reputation is a bit of a self-fulfilling prophecy. Don't you think? It's a classic catch 22, if you ask me.

    Anyway, I have a nephew who attends the medical magnet program at Crispus Attucks and we're very happy with it. By being in that program, he's definitely getting a better education than I received when I was in the township schools, taking accelerated courses and doing quite well.
  • I was a student in Washington Township when Dr. White was Principal of North Central and later when he was Superintendent of the township. Personally, I think he is one of the best educators that we have seen in this area. He has a very difficult job running IPS, but I think he's the right man for the job. He might not be making friends in the process, but if he spent his days trying to keep everyone happy, nothing would ever change. IPS needs a fast turn around!

    As a Meridian Kessler resident I'm closely watching the changes at schools 84 and 91. My wife and I both went to public schools and want our children to go to public schools as well. If IPS schools are not turned around, we will have little choice but to move from the MK area into Washington Township or another district.
  • The failure rate & dropout rate have more to do with parenting skills and family problems than they have to do with who is running the schools. Your debating the wrong issues. Open your eyes and smell the coffee beans. Deteriorating family values, poor single parent families and other social / economic problems lead to poor student results.
  • I don't think anyone would argue that a good home life can be replaced by good schools. There is no question that a large part of the problems with IPS students start at home. However, bad parenting doesn't excuse us from having schools that do all they can to overcome the problems at home. Simply having teachers and administrators who truly care about the success of their students is very important. No matter where we went to school, I think all of us know the differences between having a teacher who cares and one who doesn't. The parents may not care about the student, but how well is that student going to be if the teacher also doesn't care? And, let's make it even worse-- what if the community doesn't care because they just blame the parents?
  • Not only do I appreciate Dr. White's leadership and innovation, I am pleased that he is committed to results and accountability. United Way has worked with IPS schools for nearly 15 years. For the first time, under Dr. White's leadership, we are being provided with assistance and data that helps us know whether our collaborative efforts are achieving intended student success.
  • Doesn't the United Way discriminate against gays?
  • This comment is addressed to NCHS alumni: As a parent of a school 91 student, I think I can safely say that it is a great school. School 91 has been successfully educating IPS students for almost 30 years. Do not hesitate to send your children there. School 84 is also a good bet. Both schools offer different educational philosophies which you cannot get in Washington township schools or any other school district in the area.

    As for Dr. White, he does good things and not so good things, but he is definitely trying. I think his forceful and authoritarian approach is sometimes offputting, but he has shown himself as of late to be more considerate and responsive to parents' wishes. I am optimistic because of his recent enthusiasm and support for the montessori schools. I hope he is able to expand the program as he has mentioned recently.
  • This is slightly off topic, but I Forgot to mention in my previous post that School 91 was just nominated for the Blue Ribbon School award, which is an award sponsored by the federal government which recognizes high performing schools.
  • Gene White is attempting to do the right things to restore IPS. However, unless the parents of the students involved do their job of making education a priority, it will be a long, and often futile process. Case in point: since introducing his uniform code, students, with their parents support, have been racing away from IPS and coming in illegally to the township school. Not only has this reduced the IPS numbers, but it is bringing down the quality of the student in the township schools, and now those families are running even further away. Some people just don't get it.
  • This is our second year at the Center for Inquiry at School 84. We are very pleased with the school's educational approach of creating a community of caring, life-long learners and are impressed with the time and dedication the staff give to the school as well as the quality of their work. I might also note that we previously sent our child to a local private school, which was nice, but not different from the experience we're having now. For those of you who haven't explored all the options IPS offers, I strongly encourage you to learn more. Take a tour of an IPS school, learn about its program, and talk with the students and teachers. I think you'll be pleasantly surprised.

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