Indianapolis Public Schools is committed to dramatically improvingstudent outcomes. We are thoughtfully convening important community conversations about upcoming decisions on grade configuration and desired school models. Together, we will collaborate to increase high quality academic options one step at a time.

 

As national and local conversations on the end of desegregation in schools continue, accusations have surfaced about the state of racial equity in IPS. Earlier this month, an article in The Indianapolis Star claimed IPS is enacting a “plan” to retain wealthy and white families in our district by increasing racial inequity in some of our schools. 

 

In response to the assertions, IPS Superintendent Dr. Lewis D. Ferebee and Board President Mary Ann Sullivan assured our community that “there is absolutely no ‘plan’ to keep affluent or white families in our district. Our flexible strategic planning model is designed to help us meet our community’s specialized demands.” In alignment with our Board’s Core Commitments and Beliefs, the IPS leadership team is focused on the swift and successful improvement of chronically low-performing schools to ensure every student in every neighborhood in our district has access to a thriving school.

 

The Star’s article elevated an IPS choice (magnet) school as “ a rare haven of excellence carved out primarily to attract the children of white, wealthy families.” This is concerning. “In this open conversation on race and socioeconomic status,” said Ferebee and Sullivan, “we must continue to educate those who believe “white” and “wealthy” are synonymous and “black” and “poor” are interchangeable.”

 

We are aggressively working to improve achievement at our schools that are struggling. Traditional neighborhood schools serve as centerpieces to our community and are just as vital as our choice schools. A choice program is not a fix-all for a low-performing school; it is our responsibility – one we greatly value – to partner with our families and neighbors to find the best solutions for each unique school community.

 

Thirty-four IPS schools earned an A, B or C grade in 2015; nearly half of them are traditional neighborhood schools. Additionally, 79 percent of these schools have predominantly minority enrollment. Nine of these 34 schools were previously low-performing. While we’re proud of this notable progress, we know there is still significant work needed to increase high-quality options for all students.

 

Often, the conversation on school improvement highlights economic disparity among zip codes. “Inequities in wealth among neighborhoods can be alleviated through continued and strategic collaboration between IPS and the greater community, said Dr. Ferebee and President Sullivan.” They listed among the district’s top priorities a commitment to “being open to innovation, soliciting the input of our community, and leaving no neighborhood without a quality IPS option for families.”
 
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