Underperforming Schools Say Less Drastic Action Called For

The two Indiana school systems still in danger of having schools seized by the state say less drastic action is called for.

Gary Superintendent Myrtle Campbell and Indianapolis Public Schools Superintendent Eugene White say their schools are making progress, even if it didn‘t show up on the most recent set of test scores. White said it takes time for changes to take effect, and hopes the state won‘t hand over any schools to private operators.

“We are proud that we are moving forward. Do we have more to go? Of course we do,” said White. “We want to get there like yesterday, but if you look at educational research, you know that it doesn’t happen like yesterday.”

Five Indianapolis high schools, an Indianapolis middle school and Gary Roosevelt High School failed to improve their test scores for a sixth straight year. State law requires the Indiana Department of Education to intervene, and includes the possibility of putting a “turnaround operator” in charge.

Campbell said her system has applied for a state grant to implement the state‘s most dramatic turnaround plans, including replacing the principal and a majority of the teachers.

“We have now gotten parents engaged. We have gotten the community engaged as well,” said Campbell. “We have provided that laser-like focus in terms of professional development for those teachers that are in that building, so that they understand that it cannot be business as usual.”

White said he‘ll appeal the classification of three high schools as failing. He said the high school students actually improved, but the schools‘ averages were pulled down by the addition of middle school students.

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