Sunday, May 22, 2011

The Take Over of the Indianapolis Public Schools

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Well Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels, an ardent supporter of No Child Left Behind legislation is attempting to take over several of the Indianapolis Public Schools. His Superintendent of Public Instruction, Dr. Tony Bennett is meeting with seven IPS schools for public input regarding this decision. The schedule and the schools in consideration of state takeover are listed below. Citing poor academic performance as his reason, Dr. Bennett would like to use the authority granted to him under Public Law 221 to manage the schools.

I had a chance to quiz the superintendent at a public forum. My question was “What makes the state feel as if they have the magic formula to get results the current administration fails to get?” I also wanted him to know that it is easy to create schools for good kids, kids that test well and give the desired results needed for a school to be passing. They put these kids in magnet schools, private schools and charter schools. However, what about the massive amount of kids with behavior problems and without options? These are the ones that usually become community problems due to suspension and expulsion. The superintendent said that the state would not take over the schools in question. Instead, they will hire private contractors with success records in other locales. He also put the blame on teachers, saying people come to him with comments like, “You don’t understand,” how hard it is to teach poor black kids. So it is the teacher’s fault, in his opinion. Since Bennett went racial, let me say, I agree there are some bad teachers. Most of the bad teachers are misplaced, having nothing in common with the culture of the kids being taught. While I am not saying that only black teachers can teach black kids, in consideration of race the ratio is off balance: The percentage of black teachers is in no way reflective of the percentage black students in school districts like the Indianapolis Public Schools.

Since it is the teacher’s fault that the schools are failing, my question to Dr. Bennett is a follows: Since all the schools in consideration of takeover are in locales like Gary, East Chicago and Indianapolis, “How in the heck did these districts get all the bad teachers?”

The public is invited and encouraged to attend one of the following meetings. All meetings will begin at 6:30 p.m. in each school's auditorium. The schedule is:

May 31: Broad Ripple Magnet High School for the Arts and Humanities, 1115 Broad Ripple Ave.

June 1: Arlington Community High School, 4825 N. Arlington Ave.

June 8: Emmerich Manual High School, 2405 Madison Ave.

June 9: Northwest High School, 5525 W. 34th St.

June 13: T.C. Howe Community High School, 4900 Julian Ave.

June 20: Emma Donnan Middle School, 1202 E. Troy Ave.

June 29: George Washington Community High School, 2215 W. Washington St.

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