Letter: IBJ should use more diverse sources

While I appreciated and learned from the March 15 article “IPS a fork in road as district searches for next superintendent,” I noted the conspicuous absence of black representation of advocacy organizations and education leaders engaged in the work of trying to improve IPS.

In a majority minority district, it was rather disappointing and indeed shocking to see only one person of color represented in the article.

This lack of an accurate representation could project a false sense of unanimity amongst the black community on our concerns about IPS. But more significantly, it conceals the diversity of perspectives within the black community on the future of IPS.

And it’s not like these missing voices aren’t active in education.

Mark Russell with the Indianapolis Urban League has appeared as a source for a news article in the IBJ as late as October 2018.

Reverend David Greene, who serves as president of the Concerned Clergy has held community forums on the future of IPS and counts IPS Commissioner Gore and former IPS Commissioner Mary Busch as long-time members of the organization. He’s been a source in previous articles.

The NAACP Education Committee is incredibly active on issues of equity within education. Carole Craig, a former IPS principal and education advocate is a trusted resource by many across the current educational ideological spectrum. I’d also note Dr. Gwen Kelley of the Children’s Policy Law Initiative who is an expert on equity in education. Shannon Williams with the Mind Trust and Emory Edwards with Ed Choice should be considered resources as well.

These individuals reflect not only the full spectrum of the current debate but more significantly are connected to an entirely different discussion the black community is having on education.

I’d encourage the IBJ to learn about the conversation the Latinx and other communities are having about the future of IPS.

Failing to include diverse perspectives sends the wrong message about who matters in determining the future of IPS. I’ll note that while some of the institutions referenced in the March 15 article have had success getting members on the IPS school board, some of the organizations mentioned above have had similar success because voters signaled a desire to go a different direction.

The IBJ should cover the full debate on education in IPS.

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Marshawn Wolley

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