Indiana

Education, From The Capitol To The Classroom

Bennett's Solution For 'Failing' Schools Coming Thursday

Indianapolis Public Schools superintendent Eugene White (left) and Indiana Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Bennett.

Months of hand-wringing and consternation comes to a head Thursday as top officials at the Indiana Department of Education will announce exactly how they plan to intervene in seven schools state education officials see as “failing” — six in Indianapolis Public Schools, one in Gary.

Education officials have a wide variety of options on how to intervene under state law at their disposal, from closing or combining schools to revising school improvement plans.

But Indiana public schools superintendent Tony Bennett is widely expected to exercise another option given to him under Public Law 221: bring in outside groups to supervise overhauls of perhaps several of the schools’ cultures.

ISTEP+ Passage Rates, Schools On Intervention List
Theodore Roosevelt Academy (Gary) 13.1%
Arlington Community High School (IPS) 14.3%
John Marshall Community High School (IPS) 19.4%
George Washington Community (IPS) 22.6%
Emma Donnan Middle School (IPS) 32.4%
Thomas Carr Howe Community High School (IPS) 33.0%
Broad Ripple Manget High School (IPS) 46.3%
State Average 70.0%
SOURCE: IDOE 2011 SCHOOL-LEVEL DATA; PERCENTAGE OF STUDENTS PASSING BOTH
MATH AND ELA PORTIONS OF TEST; ISTEP+ DATA UNAVAILABLE FOR EMMERICH MANUAL HIGH SCHOOL

While the Indiana Department of Education’s been careful to leave its options open for how to handle schools labeled as failing — it’s still entirely possible some of these schools may actually be shut down — Bennett’s been hinting at bringing in “turnaround school operators” to work with these underperforming schools for months.

If anything, the process of selecting turnaround school operators suggests a high likelihood at least one will be involved in the state’s intervention. The education department accepted applications from 11 groups to handle possible takeovers, finally whittling the list down to three finalists in July.

Indianapolis Public Schools superintendent Eugene White has plead for leniency from Bennett and IDOE officials. He wants Arlington, Broad Ripple, Emmerich Manual, and Howe removed from the intervention list.

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