In April, 2017 IPS announced the possible closing of 3 High Schools.

An open community meeting to discuss the issue, not sponsored by IPS, will be held on June 5th at 6 pm at the Purpose of Life Ministries at 3705 W Kessler Blvd North Drive, at the corner of 38th and Kessler.

ipsThis meeting is sponsored by Concerned Clergy, Parent Power, Community Voice for Education, Alliance to Reclaim our Schools, Baptist Ministerial Alliance, and Education Community Action Team (ECAT).

It was clear in the IPS sponsored “community meetings” that an overwhelming majority did not want the schools closed. It was also clear that there was considerable distrust, frustration, and anger in these supposed community meetings.

Some of the issues that will be focused on in the community-sponsored meeting on June 5th are:

  • The inhumane focus on dollars over people with no consideration of any negative consequences.
  • The lack of real community participation, input, and discussion
  • The lack of attention to any other solutions to the facilities issues
  • The lack of transparency by the IPS school board
  • The avoidance of race and socioeconomic issues

Who benefits from these changes? How will this impact our students and communities? See below for the breakdown.

What the school board is doing looks very much like the Betsy DeVos vision. If you oppose that DeVos vision and oppose the school closings, please come to this community meeting on June 5th.

Join us as we discuss the school closings and plan action to stop these closings. Click here to RSVP.

 


The Breakdown

Impact on Students and Communities:

  • Closing 3 high schools will actually damage 6 high schools as it will take several years for the newly combined high schools to create a new high school community.
  • The destruction of currently workable school communities.
  • The lack of address of the safety issues that will arise due to combining two different high schools from very different communities.
  • The lack of attention to how many students will drop out or leave IPS because of the change.
  • The lack of attention to increased transportation cost for low income folks.
  • The loss of teachers and other staff.
  • The negative impact of these closings will last for many years in Indianapolis.
  • As with the law and policy program, many special programs will not survive being moved to a different school; although it is being said that all programs will be preserved, the probability, given past experience, is that many will not survive the changes.
  • The school board is being stunningly naïve about the negative human impact of combining 6 schools into 3. Even the schools remaining will be negatively impacted by combining them with another school.

 

Lack of Real Community Participation, Input, and Discussion:

  • It was clear that the IPS community meetings were organized and ran to avoid any real discussion or dialogue.
  • Although the same issues kept arising meeting after meeting, there was no discussion of most of these issues.
  • That all the meetings were crammed into one month left little time for in-depth community consideration.
  • The “facilities” report taskforce was very narrowly drawn, especially those who supposedly represented the community. There were no parents, no teachers, no high school students, no education-oriented community organizations, and no university education professors—in fact, no one who would disagree with the school closings as the only solution.
  • There were promises the materials and report would be made available in Spanish, but this was never done. Isn’t this evidence of a kind of prejudice against the Spanish speaking community?

 

The lack of attention to any other solutions to the facilities issues

  • School closings were the only solution considered.
  • Small high schools, which are about the size of the current high schools and the research supporting such schools, was not considered.
  • Creative use and reconfiguration of current school buildings were not considered
  • Less use of IPS funds to support charter schools was not considered.
  • Our current high schools lose around 40% between freshman year and the senior year. Programs that would retain those students, thus significantly increasing the size of the high schools was not considered.
  • Having the administration share one of the high schools and selling the admin building was not considered.

 

The lack of transparency by the IPS school board

  • Despite IPS employees being told which schools are being closed and which are not, the board and superintendent keep claiming the decisions have not been made, thus creating extensive distrust.
  • That the Mind Trust and Stand for Children have spent an astounding $1.5 million or so getting the current school board elected over the last three elections is not being communicated to the community.
  • That the Mind Trust and Stand for Children are paying for both the election of the school board and the creation of local charters is not being communicated to the community.
  • That innovations schools are just charter schools within the district with their own board is not being communicated to the community.
  • That innovation schools are not local creations is not being communicated to the community. The idea and the state policy for innovation schools comes from ALEC, the American Legislative Exchange Council, a national right wing group of state legislators and corporations (just google ALEC to see who they are and what they do).

 

The avoidance of race and socioeconomic issues:

  • The “facilities” report never even uses the word “race” even though race is a major issue.
  • This lack of address of race and socioeconomic issues makes the analysis in the report faulty and misleading.
  • No address of the different racial and socioeconomic communities for each high school and the impact of putting two different communities together.
  • There are realistic gentrification concerns that the IPS school board is working to create schools that are attractive to white people to get more white people to move to the city and send their children to IPS schools; this is never addressed.
Dr. Jim Scheurich
Dr. Jim Scheurich

Professor, Urban Education Studies Doctoral Program, IUPUI. For full bio click here .