Letter: No apologies from township schools

Marshawn Wolley’s recent column [Township schools must receive reform, too. Forefront, Feb. 8] was critical of the eight metropolitan school districts surrounding Indianapolis Public Schools in Marion County. This piece suggests we should take note from the strategies being implemented in IPS. To that, we say the author is misinformed.

Marion County Metropolitan School Districts are constantly reforming as state accountability, student demographics, and the vision for the new economy continue to shift. Despite those obstacles, all eight have district letter grades that surpass that of IPS. They boast an average graduation rate of 90.6%, compared with 82.3%. They are home to the 2019 Indiana Teacher of the Year, the top career and technical education centers in Indiana, Department of Education STEM-certified schools, a plethora of state championships and much more.

He criticized the districts’ performance on the ISTEP assessment. While an important accountability tool, and one where growth and performance are important, ISTEP is a small piece of the educational puzzle, and an assessment that has consistently changed from year to year. According to new economy businesses (such as biotechnology), workers will be needed in the future who have problem-solving, communication, collaboration, decision-making and critical thinking skills. To facilitate mastery of those skills, districts are implementing rigorous academic standards, more focused on student inquiry and application of knowledge, and less on memorizing facts and procedures.

Prior to making broad generalizations around the need for “attention, engagement, and scrutiny,” it is important to ensure that all of the facts are in place. Families in Marion County have choice, and the families of 100,000 children have chosen us.

__________

The Superintendents of Marion County Township Schools

Jeff Butts, Superintendent MSD Wayne Township

Tim Hanson, Superintendent MSD Warren Township

Ken Hull, Superintendent School Town of Speedway

Paul Kaiser, Superintendent Beech Grove City Schools

Pat Mapes, Superintendent MSD Perry Township

Matt Prusiecki, Superintendent MSD Decatur Township

Flora Reichanadter, Superintendent MSD Pike Township

Shawn Smith, Superintendent MSD Lawrence Township

Nikki Woodson, Superintendent MSD Washington Township

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